NY Times on MG: Europe eager for affordable Chinese-made EVs
MG was known for decades for its spirited sports cars from Great Britain. But today, the iconic octagonal brand logo symbolizes the ambition to become a major player in the global car market. MG is a perfect example of how SAIC Motor – MG’s parent company – is leveraging the shift to electric mobility to challenge European, Japanese and American car brands that have dominated the automotive industry for decades, the newspaper reports. SAIC Motor, the largest car manufacturer in China, acquired the MG brand in 2007. Today, the company is among the seven largest car manufacturers in the world.
China is the largest car market in the world and car companies like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen Group sell millions of cars there. Otherwise, it’s a different story. The internationalization of Chinese car manufacturers is just now breaking through, with MG leading the way. And not entirely without merit. MG started its operations in mainland Europe in October 2019. Since then, it opened nearly 400 sales and service locations in 16 European countries, with Finland and Switzerland soon to follow. Quite an achievement in a notoriously difficult market for non-European car brands. Some of the largest manufacturers in the world, like Toyota Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company, not even exceed 6% market share in Europe.
‘No marketing needed’
But times are changing rapidly. The major shift to electric mobility has begun and the demand for affordable electric vehicles has already outstripped supply. Bastian Stark, co-owner of the dealership Rumpel & Stark in the German town of Unterpleichfeld, knows all about it. “When a MG representative approached me to become a MG Brand Store, I was sceptical at first. Before we even started the conversation, I first wanted to drive in the MG model the representative took with him. It soon became apparent that it was a good car, with parts from reputable suppliers such as Bosch, Valeo and Continental.”
Rumpel & Stark agreed to add MG to their sales activities and sold three models before even an MG logo was hung on the facade. “Buyers are highly attracted by the price and the relatively short delivery times. I didn’t do any marketing!”, said Bastian Stark.
Since the start of MG sales in Germany in April 2021, dozens of MG Brand Stores have already opened their doors across the country. The goal is to have at least 100 German MG Brand Stores operational by the end of 2021.
The conversation between The New York Times and Bastian Stark gives an idea of the increasing interest in MG across Europe. Especially the MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid and MG ZS EV know how to draw attention, while the recently introduced MG Marvel R Electric has been praised by the international press. Europe is eager for electric family cars that are truly affordable to the general public, while meeting all needs in terms of functionality, safety, equipment and performance.
Smart strategy pays off
It’s not without reason that the MG ZS EV has already won over 15,000 customers in its first year of sales. With this, it achieved top positions in the sales statistics of several countries, such as the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Norway and France.
For example, in Norway, the MG ZS EV is among the 10 best-selling cars overall. In France, MG recently passed the milestone of 3,000 vehicles sold, with 100 MG Brand Stores already operational there. In the United Kingdom, MG continues as the fastest-growing car brand. It even surpassed a number of well-known Japanese car brands in terms of registrations.
In Sweden, 3,500 MG cars have already been sold in the first three months after sales started. And in the week following the launch of the new MG Marvel R Electric and renewed MG ZS EV at MG’s new flagship store in Stockholm, more than 1,000 orders have been placed.
In Belgium, the Flemish Automobile Association (VAB) was so blown away by the MG ZS EV that it declared it as ‘2021 Family Car of the Year‘ in the ‘electric’ category.
MG is also making progress in Italy, where 60 MG Brand Stores will be up and running by the end of this year. In Spain, MG is one of the fastest growing brands, as well as in Austria due to the attractive offer and relatively short delivery times, unlike most other brands where delivery times are increasing due to the shortage of computer chips.
The MG ZS EV has recently passed the baton to the renewed ZS EV. The innovative family-SUV is now on display at the MG Brand Stores along with the MG EHS Plug-in Hybrid and all-new MG Marvel R Electric. The new MG5 Electric – the world’s first all-electric station wagon – enters the market in Q1 2022.