MG at the Bangkok International Motor Show

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I have a soft spot for MG.  I have owned several models (TC’s and TD’s), followed by MGA and MGB.  MGA was the first car I ever raced, and my MGB was raced by me under the Leyland banner and they claimed it to be the fastest MGB in the world in 1971.  I can even remember my MG Car Club number.  I am an MG man!

One of the larger stands and promotions at the Bangkok International Motor Show was MG, a name not common in Thailand, but one that the manufacturers hope will change.

World’s fastest MGB 1971World’s fastest MGB 1971

The MG Car Company has gone through much trauma since its inauguration in 1924 in Cecil Kimber’s garage.  The initials MG actually stand for Morris Garages, with the first MG’s being modified Bull-nose Morris’s.   Later the company was bought by British Leyland, only to go bankrupt and was eventually bought by the Chinese manufacturer SAIC.  Of course, this brought on near hysteria in some quarters, but is understandable.  MG may not be Rolls-Royce or Bentley, but they too have non-British owners these days (BMW and VW) and have survived.

What the new MG manufacturer has to do, is to convince the public that it still has a deep British heritage.  I spoke with the MG people on their stand at the show and they were very keen to point out that the design was from the UK factory in Longbridge (an ex-Leyland facility) employing several hundred British design engineers.

In Thailand, production of the MG6 will be in a new factory in Rayong and will be backed by a Joint Venture between SAIC and Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), which also controls 7-Eleven stores amongst other businesses.

SAIC Motor-CP Co. Ltd. president Wu Huan said the Thai debut of the MG6 at the Bangkok show was a part of the company’s plans to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the MG brand.  “The public debut of the MG6 in Thailand is the opportunity for the Thai market to see the new MG6 before it arrives on Thai roads,” he said.  “All nine cars on display were built locally at the production facility in Rayong province.”  At the time of the announcement, MG said it would produce 50,000 vehicles a year at the plant before eventually ramping up to an annual output of 200,000 units.

MG6 2014MG6 2014

For the time being, MG has only confirmed production of the MG6 at the Rayong plant and it remains unclear whether the company will expand production to its MG3 light hatch.

The Thailand manufactured MG6 will have an 118 kW/215 Nm 1.8 liter turbo-petrol engine matched exclusively with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The price was not quoted at the show, claims by the staff being that until they know exactly who the market might be, it is too difficult to assign pricing to the car.  This is in part due to them being unsure of trim and technology levels for local production.