The now Chinese-owned MG brand was earlier rumoured to be making a return to Malaysia soon via a local conglomerate, but the plan appears to have been pushed back several years.
Speaking to Carlist.my at the opening of the 2015 Thailand International Motor Expo in Bangkok, Mr. Wu Han, President of the Chinese-Thai joint venture SAIC Motor-CP explained that exports to other right-hand drive markets are not SAIC Motor-CP’s priority at the moment.
“We want to focus in Thailand first,” said Wu Han.
His latest reply is quite a departure from the company’s earlier statements made in 2014, which said that the company’s 50,000 units capacity plant in Rayong will export cars to other right-hand drive markets in the region including Indonesia and Malaysia.
Several years ago, SAIC, which owned the MG brand, had signed an MoU with Federal Auto Holdings to introduce the MG brand into Malaysia, but the MoU has since lapsed and SAIC is rumoured to be speaking to another Malaysian conglomerate on possible tie-ups.
Wu however, denied that SAIC is in talks with any party in Malaysia.
“No, we are not speaking to anyone in Malaysia at the moment,” said Wu.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, an executive at SAIC Motor-CP explained that the company is quite behind in its sales targets, and that it needs to strengthen its operations in Thailand before focusing on exports.
A report by the Bangkok Post said that the company had earlier aimed to sell 5,000 cars in 2015, but a sudden downturn in the Thai domestic market meant that the company had only sold 1,890 cars in the first nine months of this year.
At the Thailand International Motor Expo, MG launched its latest B-segment model for the Thai market – the MG5.
More like an upper-B-segment model, the MG5 competes with the Honda City and Toyota Vios in terms of price, but offers more metal for the same money – its 2,650 mm wheelbase is 50 mm and 100 mm longer than the City and Vios respectively.
The MG5 is powered by either a 1.5-litre 106 PS naturally aspirated petrol engine or a 1.5-litre turbo 129 PS petrol engine.
There is also the larger MG6, which is available in two body styles – saloon and fastback, and an entry level Perodua Myvi-sized MG3.
The MG6 is powered by a 161 PS 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine while the MG3 is powered by a 106 PS 1.5-litre petrol engine shared with the MG5.