CHINESE carmaker MG has unveiled the 2020 MG Extender ute in Thailand, but it won’t be coming to Australia.
The once-British brand’s first ute will be sold in Thailand in single-cab, dual-cab and grand-cab guise and will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine capable of 120kW and 375Nm. Both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions will be available.
Eager eyes will note the MG Extender looks a helluva lot like the LDV T60 ute that’s already sold in Australia, and that’s because MG and LDV are both owned by automotive powerhouse, SAIC; with the T60 and Extender (read: rebadged T60) sharing the same production line.
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Bringing the Extender here isn’t a ridiculous idea, based on recent Australian sales data of LDV’s budget-priced ute. A total of 335 T60 units were shifted from showrooms in July, a whopping 24.1 per cent increase compared to the same month in 2018 – proving there is an appetite for bargain-priced Chinese utes.
However, MG Australia has quickly shut down that speculation.
“We are aware that the MG Extender Ute has been launched in Thailand this past week, however this product is not on our agenda now or in the foreseeable future,” MG Motor Australia said in a statement to whichcar.com.au.
Just like MG slapping its badges on an existing product, a number of manufacturers over the years have applied their badges to existing products. The Renault Alaskan and Mercedes-Benz X-Class, for example, are both based on the Nissan Navara platform yet utilise different suspension set-ups, tweaked fascias and an assortment of various tech.
Then you’ve got the Fiat Fullback which was on sale in Europe until recently, known as the Mitsubishi Triton here. Other than new-look headlights and a refreshed grille, the Fullback was largely spec-for-spec with the Triton; although, the Mitsubishi ute offered more body variants as part of its model line-up.
The BT-50 and Ranger also shared basic underpinnings, before the brands parted ways and Mazda teamed up with Isuzu to collaborate on the next-gen ute.
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In Thailand, the MG Extender dual-cab is expected to retail from approximately AU$36,000 (after price conversions).