OK I might be slow on the uptake but I was only on the MG website couple of weeks ago. On again tonight and they have completely removed the MG6 - all models including the 2.0 ltr diesel which looked like a half decent option for business when it was introduced. I know the press have buried it and sales have been poor but $h%t! - what a lot of design and production effort to then withdraw. And so the spiritual successor to the ZS is now dead, along with the ZT, ZR and TF.
And what about the TF? Great effort, again boys. We know there is (still) a market for a small, affordable sporty ragtop. Mazda have proven this over decades with the MX5 and in the States the over 40's love the Miata as a weekend car despite the relatively old core design and lack of real power. The gearing, handling and exhaust note make it feel just racy enough. So why couldn't the TF have been be updated, improved and re-promoted to this market as a real alternative? No instead, they black the wheels, make it racing orange and go after the bling, bling boy racer market... who wouldn't be seen dead in it because its a car for their mum and dad.
This is a best seller and presented in a specification and fashion appropriate to the demographic. Like it or not, it sells like hot cakes.
Even with comparable performance and arguably better value, this is not the right pitch for the established market... if it had 300 BHP, maybe. But it doesn't, and so its daft and pointless. And too flash for the over 40's. Neighbours would think I was having a mental breakdown.
RAC Quote (in 2015) "Let's get one thing clear. The MG6 is a good car."
So what the hell happened? I understand (from an MG6 dealer) that the Chinese thinking was to establish a sales sweet spot initially via a limited range centered on a cheap to run / low insurance car targeted at the entry level Astra / Focus crowd. But really, what is the point buying and promoting the MG brand in the UK if you don't understand what it represents... people who associate with the motor racing and the MG brand don't want a budget, economy car. SAIC would have been better badging the first cars as Roewe 6 or even SAIC 6 if this was the plan all along.
As decent as it may be... this is NOT an MG by any definition I can come up with. Handling maybe, but its not a Zed.
The re-engineered / upgraded K4 1.8 turbo (despite its age) sounded like an acceptable start point but in reality was already a decade behind wider engine development and economy (ECO). Kit was decent and improved over the first two years eventually undercutting an equivalent Astra / Focus by 6K on the forecourt. Still few buyers. The UK press didn't help - largely bought and paid for, SAIC clearly missed the brown envelope sponsorship boat - I don't think I read a good official review early on despite many private reviewers giving the car 3 / 4 out of 5. Having actually got in one and driven it.
But SAIC had already shot themselves in the foot prior to this with a range that was simply too narrow. With an MG brand focus, a 1.8 turbo MG5 could have been the entry level ZS equivalent model with 135/160 BHP options, a 180 BHP turbo diesel (BMW sourced) for fleet and a 220+ BHP performance flagship (KV6 or Honda sourced engine). What was the point of the touring cars series ???? if there is no 'hot' MG at the top end? Complete waste of time because even if you follow the series, enjoy British hertage in motor sport and love MG as a brand, there was no bloody performance version to buy in the showroom!
For me this point is critical because I am an MG customer and it's why I bought the V6 ZS180 and have kept it for 9 years. If MG had finished the development of the supercharged ZS-X with 220+ I would have bought one. If the ZT 260 had been properly finished and not pulled from ProDrive and short-changed under Project Drive, I would have had one of those too. My Zed is 11 years old this year and I still prefer it to a new MG6 Magnette Turbo after a test drive - even at knock down prices.
When Subaru came to the UK originally in the 80s they got the UK mindset and motor-sport concept quickly - even though they were manufacturing tractors and agricultural machinery in Asia, and began with a (too) big, box like Legacy.
With the introduction of the Impreza, there was a 1.6 ltr entry level 2 x drive, 2.0 ltr 4 x drive and a 2.0 Turbo 4 x drive 220 BHP - they were coarse cars around the edges, with cheap cabin materials, clanky doors and boot and pretty basic mechanicals, but all was forgiven when you drove them. Here is my little sweetheart... 1.6 GL in red
Later, well established in the UK mindset and motorsport, Subaru were able to aspire to something better quality wise and the 2007 2.0 Type RE Legacy I have (still) is close to an equivalent 3/5 Series BMW - better in some respects with more power, 4 wheel drive, full leather and electric pack, oodles of kit, moon roof, cruise control. Just wish I had stretched for the 3.0 R Spec.
Arguably SAIC had a better chance of UK market uptake than Subaru as the MG brand was recognised with an established user base and heritage to lean on, i.e. people like you and me.
I think SAIC must be confused because the logic doesn't add up - buy a performance focussed, heritage brand and pitch it to sell a budget orientated car with average performance, based on ageing technologies. Then go out and promote the car through Touring Car events for several years... even though there is NO performance car to actually buy? Then try a booted version as the hatch is not selling well (desperation setting in). Then, 3 years after the fact, stick a diesel in it and go after the fleet market... who now have even more modern choices in the sector from Vauxhall, Ford, Mazda, Skoda (which is really a VAG) and Hyundai. Good luck with that one.
Even at a basic level, SAIC could have gone to the UK emergency services with the MG6 and sold to them bulk. I know Traffic and for beat / general duty cars it is whatever they can get on a cheap deal with reasonable capacity. For example, in South Yorkshire they have run, Fiestas (no power), Peugeot 309s (always in the shop getting fixed), Astra 1.2's (woeful handling, no grip), Hyundais, Skodas and Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6 / 1.8's / Chevettes (scary handling in the wet) back in the day.
And I am not necessarily filled with joy over the asthmatic MG3 (the Rover 214 SEi was better / faster than this in the 90's!) or the new GS which looks like a bling 4 x 4 but is actually a 1.5 ltr 2 x drive - what the hell is that about? Is it just me, or have I got this situation totally upside down. And whilst we are at it, where the hell is this car below? Is it ever going to be supported, rallied, released by MG or is it just more smoke up my ass?
What a shame. Guess they have still got Thailand to go after. Maybe that was it all along... don't give a monkey's about UK customers, just want a British Motorsport marque to entice the Asians.