By on March 11, 2016

MG6

As wonderful as the American marketplace is, there’s an entire world — literally — of cars out there that we just can’t get our hands on. In TTAC’s new series, “Foreign Affairs,” we look at forbidden fruit that you can buy brand new around the world.

As a not-so-closeted Anglophile, I’ve waited for the day that I could walk into an American showroom and drive home a new MG. The iconic octagonal badge reminds me of the MGBs that I restored with my father, and the possibility of a new car with that badge is another link to the man who made me a car enthusiast.

Of course, any time you buy an MG, there are three more letters that will come to mind: AAA. Buy the top-of-the-line package, with unlimited tows. Trust me.

Does anyone recall how the Chinese owners of the MG name were going to start building the cars in Oklahoma? When I heard that a decade ago, I was ready to pack up and move. I would’ve swept floors in the new factory if it would’ve gotten me in the door.

It wasn’t to be, but the new owners have been assembling cars at the Longbridge factory for several years, from partially-knocked-down kits built in China. This MG6 is the top of the range, offering 150 oil-burning horsepower in a Focus-sized package, starting around $20,000 USD.

The MG6 isn’t distinctively styled. I’d call it homely. It reminds me of a genericized Kia. I can’t imagine it is selling particularly well, as the price doesn’t look competitive considering the disadvantages of lackluster build quality. But it (with some sort of petrol engine, of course) is being raced in the British Touring Car Championship, reviving the sporting heritage of Morris Garages.

It’s not the car to carry the flag of the storied marque anywhere but the UK or China. But hopefully, a competitive series of cars will be developed and offered worldwide, and I can get the chance to climb behind an octagon-clad steering wheel.

[Image: MG]

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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46 Comments on “Foreign Affairs: MG6, United Kingdom...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    You mentioned KIA but minus the side vents I see a bastardized Corolla in the design.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    The MG6 is priced **below** Hyundai/Kia in the UK market, but annual sales figures still struggle to get into four figures. Dealer coverage is patchy and advertising is limited. A small but dwindling number of elderly British customers remain loyal to MG, but most of the British public probably don’t know this car exists.

    The styling is bland and generic in white, but looks nicer in dark metallic colours. The interior is full of cheap scratchy plastics, and is below Hyundai/Kia standards.

    There’s a new small crossover due to be launched soon, which may help MG’s fortunes, but for now, British car industry traditionalists and fans of the old MGB find it sad to see a famous historic brand limping along like this.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Better than not limping along, going nowhere at all. MG is going to introduce several new vehicles into the UK

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        @Ryan. Exactly. Its the same thing when people say someone “ruined” an old Caprice or LTD by painting it and putting huge wheels on it. My thought is “RIGHT, it would look so much better rusting away in some field or junkyard somewhere”. Their modifications my not be my style, but at least they have given an old forgotten car new life.

        Same here, this car obviously isnt the greatest MG ever, but its there, and it leaves to door open for future MG products, which my in fact be great. Here’s hoping.

        I feel the same about Borgward (sp?), I like that the name lives on and can become great once again.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Yes, there have been many articles on aronline.co.uk, about these “MGs”. There are the usual hopers, or people who believe that MG magic is preserved by the name alone or are otherwise self-hypnotized. And actual normal people who cannot believe it all.

      Apparently 150 “engineers” slave away in one of the outlying buildings, doing goodness knows what. And the assemblers open up a crate and attendant cardboard boxes to make one, whenever a minor miracle occurs and an order is received from the far-flung dealer network. The MG6 is complemented by the smaller hatchback MG3. Owners report spare parts are, shall we say, not plentiful. Sales are miniscule.

      For a somewhat bemused take:

      http://blog.caranddriver.com/inside-the-new-chinese-owned-mg-motor-co/

    • 0 avatar
      Joss

      Worse jokes have we seen.. BMC ADO16 wearing MG.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I saw a rusty MGB GT in my family mechanic’s shop, along with an old Datsun Z-Car(!) and either a legit Shelby Cobra or a very nice replica (!!!).

    Anyway, my point is… I’d rather have that rusty MGB GT than this turd.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    What a POS by looks alone. Let’s call it Hia Londo.

  • avatar
    ajla

    This is Pontiac G3 or 1988 LeMans levels of sad.

  • avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    Analogy: Jefferson Airplane once wrote songs like White Rabbit & Somebody To Love that defined a generation. Then in the 80’s they got high on Ex-Lax, slightly revised their name and excreted We Built This City.
    This is the car version of that. That is a factory floor you do not want to sweep.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Not every forbidden fruit is worth having.

    The Fiat brand is becoming Exhibit A.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    That ain’t no stinkin’ MG, unless MG stands for “Mundane Generic”.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    You have to start somewhere and start building the foundation of a business. The old MG is gone. JLR has done well under its new ownership. Let’s give this time and see what happens.

    Not up to European or North American standards, but good enough for developing/global markets.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I for one , and pleased to see the marque still limping along , even with (apparent) bottom feeders like this .

    I wonder of they could take on the sale of the very good quality ” British heritage ” MG parts ? .

    I too am a vintage LBC lover , no closet necessary .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I did not know they planned to build the cars in Oklahoma. That’s hilarious. GM had a plant here in Oklahoma City that was closing or had just been closed at the time that article was published.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Looks like a plain Jane Renault to me. Nothing I’d ever want or drive!

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/photo/47190839.cms

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    They have a very impressive showroom on Piccadally in London, but it was rather thin on new cars for sale. Had the Queen’s Golden Jubilee version of the (modern) TF when I was last there.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This design appears to be quite old per the Wikipedia article – dates back to 2009 and is based on a Chinese-market car.

    However, they also make another model – MG3 – that actually looks kinda appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      motormouth

      I’ve had a brief drive in an MG3. It’s memorable for it being unpleasant. It had a five-speed manual but was so underpowered that it was pointless taking it beyond fourth. I recall one of the better features were the graphics on the DIN-mount stereo.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        So…looks OK but not OK.

        Pretty much the same deal with MG since God knows when…

        • 0 avatar
          motormouth

          I agree, I think it looks OK. Beyond my gripes is the anticipated depreciation. Buy it new and after five years it’s probably worth less than yesterday’s newspaper. I imagine the same for the MG6. OK if you’re planning on running it into the ground, but not if you’re a serial trader-in type.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      2009 Chinese-market design? Better not run into anything…

  • avatar
    Fred

    Obviously Nanjing, has a lot to learn about building and selling cars in the UK and probably the USA.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I had no idea they were selling these outside China. When I see them over there, they’re always such depressing little crapboxes. They make a 10-year old Hyundai look good by comparison.

    Of course, this is China, where you can spend $150 on a pair of Lee jeans, or $44 for a bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844. If it’s a foreign brand, especially an old one, it must be good.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2018 Dodge Dart!

  • avatar
    RHD

    If SAIC wants the MG brand to regain presence and credibility, they would make a modern MGB that out-Miatas a Miata.
    As it is now, an MG label on a Chinese car is as genuine as a Prada label on a vinyl handbag made in Shenzheng.
    The Chinese are buying and taking over the world one small bit at a time, but not all their acquisitions are ringingly successful.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    http://blog.caranddriver.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/MG-motor-gate-626×419.jpg

    ironic company moto

    It takes the Chinese to take a Rover K-series 1.8 four, turbocharge it and still make no power…

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I see the future Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. Low bid wins.

  • avatar
    namstrap

    The last time I was in England, I saw these Japanese looking pickups all over the place. On closer inspection, they were branded “Great Wall”.
    I couldn’t believe how many there were.

  • avatar

    These have been bemusing fans of the octagon and viking longboat for a few years now. Every example I’ve experienced has felt like some pre-production mule. Call it a beta release.

    It all smacks of when supermarkets like Tesco started slapping old hi-end hifi brand names to cheapola Pacific rim televisions. That Wharfedale plasma ain’t foolin’ nobody.

  • avatar
    jamesbrownontheroad

    In the absence of a comprehensive dealer network, MG is also punting these through Car Shop, a big box volume used car retailer with a half dozen locations in England and Wales.

    We were browsing the Norwich branch this weekend, where a handful of pre-registered (i.e. “delivery mileage”) new models were on the shop floor alongside the 1-3 year old competition. A pre-registered MG3 can be had for less than £7,500. Not a great environment for a revived brand to be operating in.

  • avatar

    I totally agree with you on wishing we could buy an MG car here in the US. I love the little MG3s. I have played around with the customization tool for MG3s. Have you seen it? I love the graphic packs. The customization tool is here about halfway down: http://www.nathanielcars.co.uk/new-cars/mg/mg-3/
    Why can’t we have them?!!!


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