MG is steadily building its profile in the unforgiving Australian automotive landscape with three new dealerships planned in 2018, a new central presence in Sydney and the possibility of locally-tuned suspension to compliment an expanding product line-up.
The new bricks-and-mortar roll out will bring South Australia’s first MG dealer in Adelaide, with two more added to the Victorian network, while a fourth, as-yet un-finalised establishment will increase the brand profile in the Sydney area.
MG Motor Australia senior manager Danny Lenartic confirmed the three new franchises would take the national total to 21, telling WhichCar that exact details of the New South Wales development were still being decided.
“It could mean a new head office with showroom underneath or it could be a standalone flagship,” he said.
The expansion is being driven by pleasing sales performance, said Lenartic and although year-to-date registrations of 1252 to the end of July may seem modest compared with some mainstream brands, the figure represents a massive 237 percent increase for now Chinese-owned brand.
A majority of that growth is thanks to the new ZS small SUV, which launched late last year and has found 789 driveways in 2018, but the momentum is expected to continue with a refreshed version of the MG3 driven with an automatic transmission for the first time.
The company is not being forthcoming with targets, but Lenartic revealed “Our goals and benchmarks are set high.
“If you look at our growth year to date, I think that’s consistent with that ambition.
“We’re going to be as aggressive as we can in this market to become a household name.”
Beyond a strategy that will introduce more vehicles tailored to suit local customers including an updated GS mid-sized SUV, MG could adopt a local suspension tuning operation similar to Kia and Hyundai.
MG Motor Australia product planning manager Pavel Meck said a move to Australian chassis tuning would be a while away, but was one of a number of strategies MG had on the table to continue attracting more customers.
“It’s something that, for the future, we definitely will be considering. It’s, of course, important that when we launch vehicles in this market we launch them for the market”.
Meck pointed out that, although MG models hadn’t yet undergone any specific local modifications, the company has already conducted extreme weather testing on red dirt, including MG3 trials in the Northern Territory.
There have been a number of fizzers however, including the MG6 mid-sized sedan, which still fails to garner a significant audience, and the previous MG3 which was always an optimistic proposition given its manual-only offering.
However, Lenartic said MG’s Australian re-entry course, which has been bubbling since 2013, had been the right strategy and keeping its powder dry until more compelling models, such as the updated MG3 Auto and ZS arrived, would have been wrong.
“Testing, learning and evolving has been critical to taking us on this journey, and without it I couldn’t stand up and say we are one of the fastest growing passenger car companies in the country.
“From a sales perspective and human capital, it’s growing. As the business is growing, we’re growing with it”.