MG Motor India will be investing INR 1,000 crore to introduce new products as well as increase localization and production capacity
Ever since its successful inception, MG Motor India has been systematically strengthening its brand value in the mid-premium segment. The automaker’s Indian portfolio currently has three products – Hector, Hector Plus and eZS – starts above INR 10 lakh. The upcoming Gloster SUV will be picking up a fight with the likes of Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour.
Mass market MG product coming in 2021
In a recent interaction with Express Drives, MG Motor India’s president and managing director Rajeev Chaba stated that the brand’s next product will be focusing on the mass market, and it will be more affordable than the Hector. He also added that the product in question will be introduced next year, in 2021.
The top official stated that the brand has been establishing credibility so far and hence resorted to low-volume products since this approach requires less number of employees, dealers and customers. Now that all three have been taken care of pretty well, the stage is set for exploring the mass market segment. He also acknowledged that the brand needs to go after volumes to offset the heavy investments.
MG ZS Petrol
However, Chaba did not furnish any details about the upcoming mass market product. Going by MG’s predisposition towards SUVs, it is reasonable to assume that its most affordable product will be a crossover a size smaller than the Hector. Considering that the ZS petrol has already been showcased at the Auto Expo earlier this year, and has now started local testing, it could be the one MG is referring to.
We already have the all electric ZS in India. Its size and dimensions make it a perfect rival to the likes of Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. This is the segment where large number are sales are being registered. With MG having set plans to launch their next car in the sub Rs 10 lakh segment, it will be interesting to see how they fare in the mass market.
Powering the MG ZS Petrol could be the same 1.5 liter engine which delivers 141 hp and 250 Nm. Transmission options could include 6 MT and 6 DCT Automatic. It will be offered as a 5 seater SUV with internet tech features. Price range can be expected Rs 10-15 lakhs. Recently, MG ZS facelift was launched in the UK. More or less, India-spec MG ZS petrol will have similar exteriors and interiors. Below is the official TVC video from MG Motor UK.
Localization and further investment
To launch new cars, increase their dealership network, improve customer experience, after sales, etc, MG Motor India will invest another INR 1,000 crore in its Indian operations in a year. Most of this investment will go into increasing the production capacity at its Halol plant, improving the localization level from the current 70-75% to even more, and to introduce new products. The sub-Hector product is expected to have a localization level close to 90% right from the get go. The Hector will also benefit from increased local sourcing of components.
Speaking about the existing scenario, the MD stated that sales volumes are almost back at pre-COVID levels and demand is growing due to the festive season. However, he is cautious that the current upward sales trend could be due to pent-up demand. The Jan to March 2021 sales performance needs to be monitored to arrive at a more realistic demand trend for the foreseeable future. MG Motor India is expected to fair better than most other OEMs since it still has a good number of order backlogs to cater to.