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MG slashes SUV price to help people avoid public transport

By Tim Robson, 03 Sep 2020 Car News

MG cuts ZS pricing to help people avoid public transport

MG’s covid commute play sees $1500 more knocked off cheapest SUV

In the grips of an unrelenting COVID-19 crisis, MG is targeting commuters who would prefer the safety of their own vehicle in favour of public transport, but struggle to afford a new SUV.

Instead of dropping base-model variants from the roster, the Chinese-owned budget brand has pivoted the relaunch of its ZS small SUV, repurposing the entry version as a cut-price covid cocoon.

The entry level Excite – granted, not the world’s most exciting or powerful car – now sells for $21,990 drive-away, a drop of $1500 over its previous RRP.

It’s not quite the cheapest SUV on sale in Australia – technically, that honour goes to the smaller $18,990 Suzuki Ignis – but it’s still a lot of car for the cash.

“We are under way to be successful, but what’s the goal? Building a respected company that is welcome, but also gives back to the community,” MG Australia CEO Peter Ciao told journalists.

“After much discussion internally, we have decided to only launch half the new ZST line today, and the current model will continue for one more year.

"What will people want after the pandemic? They will want to replace public transport [affordably]. That is how MG will respect its customers.”

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MG Australia’s director of marketing and products, Danny Lenartic, agreed with his boss.

“The ZS is selling well,” he told WhichCar. “We could have easily dropped that [product] line and brought out the whole ZST range out, but obviously, being loaded up with MG Pilot and the specs, the prices would have gone up.

“Peter was right; he said that we still need to have a car that’s accessible to the people in this current environment that is a brand new car with a strong warranty that is well specced, so let’s keep this going for another year.”

He added that the ZS is still built for several other right-hand-drive markets.

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Lenartic refuted suggestions that the brand would find itself trapped in a cycle of cheap drive-away pricing, arguing that market conditions were an important consideration.

“We’ve always listened to the market,” he said. “People need to get out of public transport in the current climate. We can’t manufacture a brand new product just for the current climate, but we actually have the MG3 and the ZS that sits in that sweet spot.

“It’s not about creating a value proposition out of the blue, it’s about listening to customers, looking at market conditions and responding to them.”

The 2019 model ZS now starts at $21,990, with – somewhat inexplicably – two versions of the 1.5-litre powered Excite with different wheels.

A 1.0-litre three-cylinder powered ZS starts at $23,990, a $1000 drop, while the Essence also drops by $1000 to $26,490.

The limited-edition Essence Anfield – named after the football grounds of English Premier League team Liverpool – is an extra $500.

MG ZS Australian pricing

  • 1.5L ZS Excite - $21,990 driveaway
  • 1.5L ZS Excite (new alloy wheel) - $21,990 driveaway
  • 1.0L Turbo ZS Excite Plus - $23,990 driveaway
  • 1.0L Turbo ZS Essence - $26,490 driveaway
  • 1.0L Turbo ZS Essence Anfield - $26,990 driveaway