It used to be fun over ten years ago, when Top Gear was reborn in its current form, to hear Jeremy Clarkson cast his opinion on a variety of cars he liked or didn’t like. For some, he struck a chord with audiences, as his view coincided with the general consensus, while for others, his extreme views (and means of expression) did get him a lot of (negative) publicity, which was the purpose of the move in the first place…
Just like now, when he bashed the living daylight out of the Chinese-owned, British-built and –designed MG6, and once again, attracted some bad press for himself.
It's no secret that diesel engine options are necessary for any carmaker looking to succeed in the European market, even more so in mainstream segments.
Chinese-owned MG has been building and selling its MG6 in the UK since last summer, but up until now, it only offered a petrol engine in a category that's dominated by diesels, which in some models, make up for more than 80 percent of sales.
The reborn MG brand has whipped up a new special edition of its mid-size liftback model to mark its return to a major motorsports event and in particular, the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
The new MG6 BTCC Edition made its first appearance at the final round of the 2012 MSA Dunlop BTCC at Brands Hatch, where MGKX Momentum team driver Jason Plato finished third after taking the chequered flag six times during the racing season.
After restarting production in the United Kingdom last April, MG is now getting ready to return to racing as the Chinese-owned automaker announced today that it would enter the 2012 BTCC Series with a pair of MG6 GT racing cars.
This will be the first time since 2003 that MG will have an official entry in the championship. The brand's two racing cars will run in the all-new MG KX Momentum Racing team piloted by double BTCC champion Jason Plato and former Team Aon driver Andy Neate.
The results are in for Euro NCAP’s fifth and last launch of 2011. A total of 14 cars were tested including two Chinese newcomers, the MG6 and the Geely Emgrand EC7, both of which achieved a four star rating, proving that at least some Chinese brands are starting to take safety seriously.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General commented: "These results mark a milestone for the Chinese automotive industry. It is a clear sign that Chinese car makers are building on recent experiences and rapidly investing in better vehicle safety. Even with the upcoming increased demands, five stars are expected to be within reach soon."
Four more vehicles that are new were given a four-star rating, including the Fiat Panda, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jaguar XF and the EV Renault Fluence ZE.
SAIC Motor Corporation, the owner of MG Motors, plans to develop several new models for the British brand in order to boost sales outside its home market in China. The Chinese owner of MG Motors has already spent £1 billion ($1.64 billion) to re-launch the MG and Roewe brands (former Rover) and intends to invest another £2.2 billion ($3.6 billion) to achieve annual sales of 700,000 by 2015.
In 2010, the two brands sold 160,397 cars, most of which were delivered in China, with only 2,000 units exported to other markets. This past April, MG launched its new mid-size MG6 in the UK, the first new car to be assembled at the British firm’s Longbridge plant in 16 years. The company said that when it completes the development of a diesel version, it will offer the car to rest of Europe. "We will not go into mainland Europe without a diesel," UK managing director, William Wong, told Autonews.
The fastback version of the all-new MG6 will soon become MG Motor’s first all-new model to pass through the gates of the firm’s Longbridge factory in 16 years. The last time MG showed a brand new model was in 1995 with the MG F, a mid-engined, rear-wheel drive roadster. According to the British automaker, the first series production model will roll off the assembly line on April 13, 2011 at precisely 11:00 am.
MG Motors, which now belongs under the umbrella of China’s Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) group, will follow up with a sedan version of the MG6 this summer. Both the four-door saloon and the five-door fastback will be offered with a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine that’s good enough for 160 ponies and 215Nm of peak torque at 1750-4500 rpm.
Having been delayed for a couple of months due to some negative consumer feedback, the MG6 four-door Saloon model has now taken over the social media scene. The first photos of the ₤17.000 Focus rivaling MG have been posted on the British firm's facebook page. The MG6 Saloon is scheduled to land in UK showrooms this summer, a few months after the first batch of MG6 fastback's reach their owners.
MG Rover's old Longbridge car plant is set to comeback in a big way when SAIC / MG begins building its first all new car in 15 years at the end of the year. The plant will start producing the MG6 mid-size model from knocked-down kits imported from China, preceding the UK relaunch of MG as a "value brand" in 2011.
The all new car will be available initially as a five-door fastback, with a four-door saloon to follow later on. The automaker optimistically told the Financial Times that customer clinics have compared the MG6 with the likes of the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Octavia and even with small BMWs. Prices in the UK are said to range between £16,000 to £20,000 (US$25,425 to US$31,780).