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MG sets its sights on Thailand

Longbridge car manufacturer, MG Motors, has announced that it intends to expand into Thailand. The Chinese-owned company will begin the move by exhibiting its cars at the upcoming Bangkok International Motor Show. These MG6 models were designed and engineered at the old MG Longbridge plant and the company says they will form the centrepiece of a show which will be an important introduction to the cars for its Thai target audience.

Longbridge car manufacturer, MG Motors, has announced that it intends to expand into Thailand. The Chinese-owned company will begin the move by exhibiting its cars at the upcoming Bangkok International Motor Show. These MG6 models were designed and engineered at the old MG Longbridge plant and the company says they will form the centrepiece of a show which will be an important introduction to the cars for its Thai target audience. The show will coincide with the final stages of MG parent company, SAIC’s, car factory opening in Rayong province in Thailand. This plant in the east of the country is expected to be producing its first cars by June, allowing MG to significantly ramp up its global production.

The new factory is a joint venture between SAIC and the Charoen Pokphand Group and cars produced at the facility will be sold all over South East Asia. The move was welcomed by SAIC Motor.CP Co. Ltd (the joint venture company) president, Wu Huan, who said: “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. All nine cars on display were built locally at the production facility in Rayong province. The presence of MG in this year’s Bangkok International Motor show is a key part of MG’s 90 year anniversary celebrations in 2014.”

UK sales of MG cars have so far been modest at best. The company expects this to improve, however, with new diesel engines that will see CO2 emissions fall from 139 to 129g/km. MG hopes that this will make the MG6 GT and Magnette more attractive for company fleet buyers. The company also says that it is planning discounted deals in the first quarter of the coming financial year (from April) and will be expanding its UK dealer network to make the cars more immediately available to UK customers. The MG3 supermini has so far sold 1,000 units in the UK and MG also hopes to build on this initial success.

MG Motor UK was bought over by SAIC Motor in 2008. The Chinese giant is a fortune 500 company and in 2013 set a new Chinese record for car production of 5.1 million. Based in Shanghai, SAIC is considered one of the ‘big four’ Chinese carmakers and has joint ventures with GM and VW as well as producing its own brands. In 2011 they restarted MG production at Longbridge but the plant has been criticised as merely a ‘CKD’ factory assembling components built elsewhere.

 

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