By Kap Maceda Aguila
BRITISH brand and now Shanghai-headquartered Morris Garages, or MG, is officially back in business in the Philippines — this time under the fold of a big and experienced distributor.
Filipino-owned The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), the country’s Chevrolet representative, recently acquired the rights to distribute and service vehicles of the heritage brand. MG Philippines re-enters the Philippine market with the launch of three new passenger vehicles: the MG RX5 compact SUV, the MG6 fastback sedan, and the MG ZS crossover SUV.
“The Covenant Car Company is optimistic that Filipinos will positively respond to MG’s new global products,” said TCCCI president and managing director Alberto B. Arcilla in a statement. “[We are] very excited to provide the market with new options, with an aggressive model lineup and favorable offers… I am sure future MG customers will appreciate the modern features and benefits of these cars, and many will be pleasantly surprised by the numerous perks these MG models have to offer.”
The MG brand began in the 1920s — registered by the now-shuttered MG Car Company Limited. Although it produced sedans and coupes, MG is better known for its two-seat open sports cars. Today, the car maker is financially backed by SAIC Motor Corporation Limited, the largest among China’s “Big Four” state-owned automakers (the other three being Chang’an Motors, FAW Group, and Dongfeng Motor). MG designers work at the newly inaugurated Advanced London Design Studio in Central London.
MG Philippines, under TCCCI, is “driven to establish its position in the local market,” beginning with the aforementioned multi-model launch. TCCCI becomes the sole distributor of the brand, as “the previous representative no longer possesses the rights to the distributorship of MG in the country, though we are not privy to the details of their discussions with MG Global,” said Enrico Miguel T. Subido, MG Philippines PR manager, in reply to a BusinessWorld question.
The new MG RX5 compact SUV is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine delivering 162 hp and 250 Nm, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Inside the cabin is an eight-inch touch screen infotainment system featuring MG iLink software and Apple CarPlay, “with the addition of modern driving aids such as keyless entry, push start/stop, cruise control, and an electronic parking brake with auto-hold function for a stress-free, easy drive,” according to MG literature. The MT Core is priced at P1,058,888, while the AT Style goes for P1,228,888.
Meanwhile, the new MG6 is a fastback that gives a “nod to the brand’s racing heritage” while providing contemporary accoutrements. It has two-tone (red and black) seats, dash, and door panels. The vehicle (priced at P1,068,888 million for the AT Alpha and P1,188,888 for the AT Trophy) is also motivated by a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine good for 162 hp and 250 Nm. It boasts a slew of safety features such as ABS, cornering brake control, electronic brake assist, electronic brake distribution, hill-start assist, tire-pressure monitoring, and traction control.
Lastly, the ZS, powered by a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter serving up 114 hp and 150 Nm, is said to punch above its price-class with “top-spec features and styling.” Pricing is as follows: MT Style (P818,888), AT Style (P868,888), and AT Alpha (P998,888).
MG Philippines projects to unveil six new vehicles by the end of next year. As part of its “road map,” the company is set to “establish 16 independent MG dealerships that will be able to serve the need for after-sales service and new car inquiries.” Nine new dealer areas have already been identified, and independent dealer partners Genesis Motors Corporation, Grandcars, Inc., Juno Cars, Inc., Profitfleet, Inc., Rev-Up Automobile Corporation, and Angcore Motor Company, Incorporated will all have fully operational showrooms by the first semester of 2019.
During the interim, existing MG owners are promised access to after-sales services. “A string of independent, MG Philippines-accredited service outlets will be made easily accessible for MG owners, while a Mobile Garage service caravan which will be made available in January 2019,” said the company in a statement. MG Philippines is also rolling out a host of other innovative service platforms. Each brand-new MG car comes with a five-year, or 100,000-kilometer warranty.
By Kap Maceda Aguila