June 20, 2014 00:00 By Kingsley Wijayasinha
MG6 sedan, fastback launched in Bangkok yesterday, set to duel Civic, Altis, Focus, Mazda3
Thai-Chinese relations are on the road to becoming even stronger with the launch of the MG6 in Bangkok yesterday.
Although the MG brand has been around for 90 years, the British marque – well-known in Thailand for its compact convertibles in the ’60s and ’70s – has been absent here for decades.
MG’s return to Thailand is the result of a joint effort between China’s SAIC Motor, which is the present owner of MG Motors, and Thailand’s retail giant CP Group in reviving the British brand in the kingdom and the Asean region.
A Bt9-billion assembly plant churns out the MG6 for both the domestic and export markets, with an annual capacity of 50,000 of the vehicles once maximum production is reached.
“Thailand will serve as the MG6 production base for right-hand-drive vehicle markets,” said SAIC Motor-CP president Wu Huan.
Among the export markets for the Thai-made MG6 are Asean countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, while Australia and New Zealand may also import the vehicles.
The MG6 launched yesterday is priced from Bt848,000 to Bt1.128 million and comes in both sedan and fastback body styles. It enters the highly competitive C-segment and takes on such tough competition as the Honda Civic, Mazda3, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla Altis. While its competitors offer 1.6-, 1.8- and 2.0-litre engines, four out of five MG6 variants feature a turbocharged 1.8-litre engine that is made in-house by MG. It is capable of pumping out 161hp and 215Nm, matching output of normally aspirated engines. The MG6 also has a quick-shifting 6-speed DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) with five driving modes.
MG officials say the major highlight of the MG6 is the “handling” and “driving enjoyment”. The front strut and rear multi-link suspension feature large stabilisers, while the steering offers “high precision”. The interior boasts great attention to detail and spaciousness, reflecting MG’s dynamic integration interior theme. The MG6 boasts plenty of interior space with generous amounts of leg and shoulder room to help create a comfortable driving environment.
Luggage space in the fastback version has been increased to as much as 472 litres with the foldable rear seat backrests down.
In terms of safety, the MG6 boasts innovative body USD (Ultimate Stiffness Design), with as much as 63 per cent of the vehicle structure being made from ultra-high, high-strength steel, matching European NCAP 4-star crash-test rating. A collection of 10 intelligent driver assistance systems are offered in the MG6 – VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), TCS (Traction Control), MSR (Motor Control Slide Retainer), CBC (Cornering Brake Control), EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution), ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), ITPMS (Indirect Monitor Tyre System), BDC (Brake Disc Cleaning), BA (Brake Assist) and HAS (Hill Start Assist System).
The top trim features four airbags – dual front SRS airbags and dual side airbags integrated in the front anti-submarine seats. The MG6 Sporty Fastback X and D are both powered by the turbocharged 1.8-litre engine. The MG6 Sedan X and D also have the 1.8-litre turbocharged engine, while the entry-level MG6 C is powered by a normally aspirated 1.8-litre engine.
MG Sales (Thailand), which is the official distributor for MG vehicles in Thailand, has targeted sales of 2,000 MG6s for the remainder of the year.
A total of 30 MG dealers from around the country have been appointed and will be operational this year. The first nine dealerships (six in Bangkok) will open on July 1, while another 16 dealers located in major provinces will become operational by August.
“MG believes that in order to build a strong foundation to further business, development of the dealer network plays an instrumental role in maximising customer satisfaction and further strengthening its brand in Thailand,” Wu said.
The MG6 is ready for booking from today, and among the special offers awaiting passionate MG customers are MG Roadside Assistance, MG Mobile Service and Special Warranty of four years or 120,000 kilometres.
MG also recently opened its Parts Distribution Centre, located at Bang Na-Trat Km 19, with a 5,000-sqm facility stocking 2,500 different spare parts that can be delivered to service centres in 24 hours.
“The centre is fully equipped in terms of tools, spare parts, staff and systems, which allows it to provide service that meets customer expectations in a swift and effective manner. This will help eliminate long waiting periods for spare parts. The centre aims to meet the needs of our business partners so that they can operate efficiently,” Wu added.
In addition, the MG Service Centre and Training Centre located on Onnut Road is now in operation.