After more than 10 years of absence, the now Chinese-owned British brand MG is set to make a comeback to Malaysia under a soon to be announced local distributor.
Speaking at the sidelines of the ongoing 2016 Beijing Auto Show, a source familiar with the matter confirms that the Shanghai-based SAIC Motor, which owns the MG brand, is In advance stages of negotiations with an unnamed party to re-introduce the MG brand in Malaysia.
Back in 2013, Federal Auto Holdings Berhad, which operates Volvo, Volkswagen and Mitsubishi dealerships in Malaysia, announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SAIC, with the intention of reintroducing MG to Malaysia but Carlist.my understands that the deal is off and that SAIC is currently speaking to another party.
MG cars were last sold in Malaysia sometime around 2005, when the brand was represented by Brookland Motors.
SAIC currently has an assembly plant in Rayong, Thailand that produces the Perodua Myvi-class MG 3, the MG 5 which is priced like a Honda City but is a larger car, only slightly smaller than the Honda Civic-like MG 6. All Thai-assembled MG models are currently only for sale in Thailand.
However Carlist.my understands that despite our close proximity to the Thai plant, the MG cars bound for Malaysia are likely to be UK specifications cars, imported from SAIC’s plant in China.
The 1.5-litre MG 3 has been ruled out for Malaysia as it doesn’t have an automatic transmission, and is only available with a 5-speed automated manual transmission.
Instead, MG’s re-entry into Malaysia will most likely be spearheaded by the MG GS crossover seen in these pictures, which is aimed at the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX, and to a certain extent, the smaller Mazda CX-3.
Engine and transmission options for the Malaysian market have not been finalized but globally, the GS is available with two direct injection turbocharged petrol engine options – 1.5-litre TGI is paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual clutch automatic (2WD only), while the 2.0 TGI is paired to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic, available as a 2WD or 4WD.
The 1.5-litre TGI engine produces 166 hp at 5,600 rpm and 250 Nm from 1,700 to 4,400 rpm. The 2.0-litre TGI produces 218 hp from 5,000 to 5,300 rpm and 350 Nm from 2,500 to 4,000 rpm.
In terms of size, the GS is larger than both the Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX, but sitting inside, it’s no more spacious than either Japanese models, especially when compared against the very efficiently packaged HR-V.
At 4,500 mm, the GS is 204 mm longer than the HR-V. It’s also 83 mm wider and 70 mm taller than the HR-V.
We expect an announcement on the matter to be made later this year, with an expected launch timing of around 2017.