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MG’s upmarket aspirations: “Being cheapest is not our appetite” in Australia

Curt Dupriez
Deputy editor

MG Australia promises to focus on value rather than cut pricing as its parent eyes an upmarket push in coming year

MG Australia is hoping to shake its ‘cheap’ brand perception in its parent company’s migration to a more electrified portfolio. And it certainly seems to have the right sort of machinery coming online in the coming years to help its cause.

At the recent local unveiling of its new all-electric MG4 small hatchback – the first of many MGs to be built off the company’s new EV-dedicated Modular Scalable Platform – MG Australia representatives were keen to talk up the brand’s transition away from budget-focused motoring. 

The MG4 is set to become Australia’s cheapest EV

“I think [being] the cheapest is not necessarily our appetite,” says MG Australia PR manager David Giammetta, in response to whether the forthcoming, yet-to-be-launched MG4 is set to become Australia’s most affordable EV. 

“[Instead] it’s always been about value.”

Electric RWD MG4 model the launchpad for MG’s upmarket push 

While MG Australia has broadly outlined the shape of the incoming MG4 range, it stopped short of revealing actual pricing for what is confirmed to be a multi-variant model lineup due to launch in Q3 this year.  

It’s rumoured that the MG4 could kick-off from as low as around $40K, undercutting price-busting EVs such as MG’s owner ZS EV Excite (from around $46K), BYD Atto 3 (from around $48K) and Nissan Leaf (from around $51K). 

In the UK, the MG4 (from GBP$26,995) is significantly more affordable than its ZS EV midsize SUV (from GBP$30,495) stablemate. 

MG ZS EV Long Range 2023-4
MG doesn’t plan on being a cheap car brand forever

High-performance Cyberster and Marvel R could make MG more competitive with Tesla    

Whether MG4 becomes the cheapest EV in Oz remains to be seen, but as reported prior MG Australia also revealed hopes and plans to bolster the local lineup with a number of models and variants that will go some way in changing MG’s perception as a cut-priced brand: a dual-motor high-performance version of the MG4; a dual- and triple-motor premium Marvel R new-gen midsize SUV; and a sportscar renaissance in the Cyberster roadster.

“Obviously we’re considering all models that are on offer to us,” says Giammetta. “The Cyberster is definitely on the cards as well as the Marvel R. They are not too far away [from coming to Australia].”

Both the (potential) dual-motor MG4 and (inevitable) dual-/triple-motor Marvel R high-performance pairing is a quantum leap closer to competing against what seem to be logical rivals in Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, respectively. 

These models are clear indicators of where MG wants to compete, both globally and locally. And whether MG Australia, for its part, will aim for pricing parity or not, the upper fringes of its lineup portfolio will undoubtedly become more expensive than where they are now. 

MG Marvel R charging
The triple-motor Marvel R could provide some competition for Tesla

However, MG Australia marketing manager Rick Whaite believes that taking on Tesla could be somewhat premature.

“I think [taking on Tesla] is probably two steps further down the path [of brand evolution] for us,” Whaite says. 

“[But] the wonderful thing about EVs is that they give you the opportunity to have an amazing performance leap straight away, in terms of acceleration and the like. So, you know, we’re getting there very quickly, no pun intended.”  

Big changes for MG through 2025 and an EV successor for the MG3 hatchback    

“The next 12 to 18 months are incredibly exciting,” says Whaite. Indeed, the current, aging MG3 compact hatchback will be replaced with what looks almost certainly to be a techier, more safety-laden fully electric successor by the end of 2025. 

“We’re actually in a really interesting phase of the [MG] brand,” says Whaite. “[Models such as the MG4] are going to be transformational in terms of the way in which people think and feel about the brand.

The MG3 could soon be replaced with an EV successor

“Now it’s about making sure we add more dimension to that. So while we will never walk away from value, it’s not the basis of our platform any further.”

So where is the renewed focus directed towards?

“With [the MG4], we’re really starting to talk about dynamics,” Whaite adds. “It’s one of the most important things for this brand: what’s going on in regards to engineering and dynamics. It’s incredibly exciting. 

“[But] right now, from our point of view, [the strategy is] about providing a solution for Australian customers who want to make the transition to an EV but who don’t want to pay 70 or 80 thousand dollars for the pleasure to do so.” 

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