By on December 13, 2010

Kevin Wale, head of GM China, confirmed what we had intimated a month ago: GM wants to give their Chinese joint venture partner SAIC access to GM’s sales network in the UK. “We have agreed in an MOU that we would discuss the potential for MG to be distributed in the UK,” said Wale to Reuters.

If the deal is signed, it would be unprecedented. No Chinese company so far has gained access to the distribution network of their joint venture partner. The mere idea would send shivers down automaker’s necks. China, the carbuilding monster (this year: 18 million) has pretty much been kept in its Chinese box. Western automakers have done everything to keep a lid on it. The only exports are small scale, by China’s relatively small independents, such as Chery, Geely, or Great Wall.

MG in a Vauxhall network would be something drastically different. SAIC’s MG would gain immediate brand cred and respectability. Also, the way the European market is structured, this won’t stay a solely UK deal for long. A car that is legal in the U.K. is legal anywhere in Europe. Opel dealers all over Europe can demand MGs, and it would be hard, if not impossible to say no. Once MG is established, SAIC, China’s largest manufacturer, can follow with more own brand product.

SAIC plans to start making MGs in the UK by the end of this year and sell them across the European Union.

In the eyes of most European automakers, this is a nightmare scenario, something they have fought to prevent for years. GM makes it happen.

SAIC must wield considerable power over GM to get such a deal. At least, Wale said no discussions have been held on sharing GM’s dealer network in North America. Which doesn’t mean that they won’t be held in the future.

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17 Comments on “Wale Confirms: SAIC May Sell MGs Through Vauxhall Dealers...”


  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Fists of Fury?

  • avatar

    part of the plan all along, duh.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    “A car that is legal in the U.K. is legal anywhere in Europe. Opel dealers all over Europe can demand MGs, and it would be hard, if not impossible to say no.”
     
    Except it’d be rather hard to sell a RHD car based on a 12 year old design to anyone but the most die hard MG fanatic in any country except (and probably including) the UK. To sell any numbers across Europe would require a push from the company, not a pull from the dealers.

  • avatar

    While it would be neat to see MGs sold again a part of me would like MG to die with some shred of dignity left.

  • avatar
    7

    “A car that is legal in the U.K. is legal anywhere in Europe.”
    Not really. France still prohibits anyone to drive Caterhams (at least the ones with Hyabusa engines) or Ultimas on the roads, though they are street legal in the UK.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Interesting.  I tailed (loosely speaking, since I was in a Meriva at the time) a Caterham though the French alps around Col d’Iseran.  Probably not Hyabusa-powered.
       
      Again, “tailed” isn’t the right word.  Had he not stopped a few times I wouldn’t have caught up.

    • 0 avatar
      7

      Oups, sorry, I didn’t mean that you couldn’t drive them in France.
      I meant that you couldn’t register them with french plates.
      And why make one mistake when you can make two ? It might be a thing of a not so distant past as there’s now an official Caterham french importer (but only duratecs and sigma motors seeem to be available).

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    You have to wonder if this is payback for the Opel fiasco.

  • avatar
    Abraxas

    @ Bertel Schmitt – One of today’s headlines on Nikkei homepage is about ” Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors to strengthen ties ” . Is Nissan planning to buy a stake in Mitsubishi Motors ?

    • 0 avatar

      Both had been OEMing cars for each other for quite some time. I wanted to spare you a story about “Nissan Motor Co. (7201) and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211) will bolster their alliance including an expansion of their model lineup supplied mutually on an OEM basis and possibly shared parts procurement.” It’s not THAT slow of a newsday …
      No merger in the offing.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Except it’d be rather hard to sell a RHD car based on a 12 year old design to anyone but the most die hard MG fanatic in any country except (and probably including) the UK.

    they have to adjust the price to be very attractive, long warranty 10 yrs at least, then is going to sway 2nd car buyer to these MGs. Is a 1st step out of the 12 steps buddy.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    What 12 year old designs? Whilst most of you have been asleep SAIC have put it’s UK R&D team hard to work designing new cars. Namely the MG 6 and MG 3. The 3 is aimed at the Opel Corsa and the 6 at the Astra. They also have a couple of other new models on the way.
    The only old car they will sell in the UK will be the much loved TF, which is long in the tooth, but very niche.
    Get it right peoples….. GM is allowing a bunch of brand spanking new MG’s which looks highly competitive and drive really well (according to most reports) to rock up into Vauxhall dealers with a designed and made in Britain tag. Because in case you also missed it, Longbridge is going to be making cars from CKD kits.
    MG will sure as hell compete and let’s be honest MG history of sporting cars sounds better than Vauxhall’s history of bland cars…. MG selling in Vauxhall dealers is going to hurt GM a lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Nicodemus

       “MG history of sporting cars sounds better than Vauxhall’s history of bland cars….”

      Laurence Pomeroy is turning in his grave as you say this….

      http://www.antiquesreporter.com.au/index.cfm/lot/18471-1924-vauxhall-30-98-oe-type-velox-tourer-chassis-no-oe-116-engin/

  • avatar
    RogerP

    Note the original interview with Reuters said nothing about Vauxhall!  It simply said and I quote, “Access to GM’s sales network in the United Kingdom”.

    What about Chevrolet??

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Bertel
     
    wonder where u found this plaque? these were common during the old days when the Foreign devils carved out Middle Kingdom they have cut up Shanghai into many foreign rental treaties, similar signs were spotted in one of late great Bruce lee’s movie.
     

  • avatar

    I’m shaking my head about this fascination with RHD v.v. LHD  cars. Ever since I worked in the industry (and that was a long time ago), RHD and LHD cars could run off the same assembly line at the same time. At least in the car industry where I worked. I arrived in Japan today, where I will stay for the rest of the year, and was reminded that all cars made here are RHD. Which doesn’t prevent them from magically having the steering wheel on the right left side when they arrive in the U.S.A. and continental Europe.

    And while we are wallowing in the dark ages: All new cars sold in the EU are subject to European Whole Vehicle Type Approval: Approved in one country, legal in all. There also is something called Block Exemption Regulation that governs the selling and servicing of cars throughout the EU.
    Tstag is right. These MGs are newly developed, made in China, and assembled in the U.K.


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