It was no surprise to see MG Motor finally break into the top 10 manufacturers in Australia last month.
Reborn under Chinese ownership, the famous British badge has moved from challenger brand to the mainstream.
In February, MG recorded 3017 sales to finish in ninth place beating Honda, Subaru, Volkswagen, Isuzu and Suzuki. It’s a remarkable effort given the marque offers only three model lines.
Last month’s result was MG’s best result in Oz and represented growth of 159.4 per cent when compared to the same month in 2020.
We say MG’s success comes as no surprise. After driving the ZS SUV a few years back, the presentation, price and warranty were enough to predict the brand had the potential to be a formidable competitor for the establishment.
Said establishment will now be looking over its shoulder. Despite being regarded as a small player, MG already has an EV and a plug-in hybrid for sale locally. To date, heavy hitters like Toyota and Mazda still do not have their latest powertrain tech available here.
Despite being the second biggest seller in Australia, Mazda will come under increasing threat from MG as we shift towards electrification.
Mazda has pushed its cars upmarket which adds to the bottom line. Prices have climbed significantly across Mazda’s portfolio which has lifted the Japanese marque away from its traditional competitor set. Generally speaking, Mazda has always been a brand people have been happy to pay a little more for, but for how long?
Established brands heading upmarket has left a gap in the sales landscape that MG is filling. Along with Mazda, Hyundai and Kia are reaching new heights on price. The recent arrival of the Palisade and new Sorento has taken the Korean twins a galaxy away from where they started.
Then there’s Honda, the former high flyer is about to prune its range and switch to a fixed-price agency sales model. Initially, Honda expects to sell fewer cars as a consequence of the change. This will widen the area MG plays in. If buyers can’t secure a deal on an HR-V perhaps MG’s ZS will do the job. The same goes for the CR-V, the new HS range offers an alternative.
It’s getting harder to find any major player willing to offer cheap and cheerful motoring. MG has proved there’s still a space for value cars. This is the space Kia once owned.
Over the rest of 2021, expect to see MG overtake Nissan (7th) and Ford (6th). Nissan has new metal coming but its prices will climb while Ford’s only claims to fame will remain the Ranger with a dash of Mustang. If MG keeps the long warranty and low prices, its volume will overtake those two top ten regulars with ease.
To push things along, MG’s SAIC Motor sister brand LDV could be rebadged and sold at MG dealers. That would give MG a ute and a large SUV. The familiarity of the MG name means it’s regarded by the market as less of an unknown when compared to LDV.
In Australia, only Toyota is recession-proof. The tighter economic conditions caused by the pandemic means brands like MG that have the right products at the right price are primed to do well, and as such, MG will put rivals under increasing pressure throughout the rest of 2021.
Of course, we’re happy to be proven wrong.
More: All Opinion