MG to launch in Germany in European expansion

LONDON — MG Motor is expanding to all major markets in Europe including Germany as it broadens its range of electrified vehicles.

The British brand, which is owned by SAIC Motor of China, is advertising senior sales positions in Germany, Spain and Italy.

MG did not give a detailed timeline for the expansion but its German language website says “coming soon.”

Last year MG broke out of the UK market for the first time since 2011 to start selling the ZS small electric crossover in France, the Netherlands and Norway.  

The automaker has 112 dealers in the UK and it has been adding sales outlets in Luxembourg, Belgium and Austria, working with dealership groups such as Autogroep and Emil Frey. In the Netherlands, MG sells cars at outlets of the Woonexpress home furnishings group.

MG’s European vehicle sales rose 76 percent to 14,088 through August. The electric version of the ZS accounted for 10,675 of those sales, according to figures from JATO Dynamics market researchers.

New models

MG has just started UK sales of the MG5 battery-powered compact station wagon and HS plug-in hybrid compact crossover. The models will also be sold in the brand’s other European markets, the company’s UK sales and marketing head, Daniel Gregorious, told Automotive News Europe.

The HS plug-in hybrid will be launched Europe-wide by the end of the year, with the MG5 arriving during in 2021, Gregorious said.

MG is benefiting from increased government incentives available for EVs across Europe and from a healthy supply of vehicles.  

“We have got the capacity to build 300,000 batteries per year and we are not restricted on volume, unlike some of our competitors,” Gregorious said.

Incentives such as grants, and reduced company car tax have helped to boost sales of electrified vehicles in the UK. Incentives are also pushing up sales in France and Germany. “There is a lot of momentum behind electric now,” Gregorious said.

In the UK, incentives can reduce the starting price of the MG5 electric wagon to 24,495 pounds ($31,148), while the HS plug-in hybrid will start at 29,995 pounds ($38,143) with incentives.

Long electric range

The MG5 uses a 52.2 kilowatt-hour battery and has a range of 344 km (214 miles) under the WLTP cycle, topping the ZS crossover, which uses a 44.5 kWh battery for a range of 266 km (165 miles). MG said the MG5 undercuts potential electric rivals such as the Nissan Leaf on price.

The HS plug-in hybrid combines a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with a 90-kilowatt electric motor to give a combined output of 258 hp. The brand says the SUV will travel up 52 km (32 miles) on electric power alone and quotes a CO2 emissions figure of 43g/km.

The HS plug-in has active emergency braking, lane keep assistance and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assistance as standard equipment in a package called MG Pilot. MG Pilot is not available on the MG5.

Gregorious said MG’s range in Europe will expand over the next couple of years as part of the brand’s aim to boost sales volumes. “We certainly have the capacity,” he said.

China production

MG was once globally known for its British built sports cars. The brand has been in Chinese hands since 2005 when Nanjing Auto purchased it from bankrupt UK automaker MG Rover. Nanjing Auto was acquired by SAIC two years later and MG has been SAIC’s preferred export brand from China since then.

MG’s cars are built in China after SAIC ended production at the historic Longbridge factory in central England.

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