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China’s SAIC becomes stronger globally thanks in part to MG’s success

An MG model is shown at the Guangzhou auto show last year. China Daily

SAIC Motor Corporation is stepping up efforts to explore overseas markets and aiming to sell 1 million vehicles outside of China in 2025.

The carmaker, which is partnered with General Motors and Volkswagen, has set up overseas manufacturing plants in Thailand, Indonesia and India and owns a sales and service network of over 500 dealerships in international markets.

In 2019, SAIC delivered 350,000 vehicles overseas, up 26 percent year-on-year, accounting for more than one third of Chinese carmakers’ total. It plans to add another two to three models to the lineup available in Europe and further expand in the Singaporean market this year.

The British brand MG, which became part of SAIC in 2007, has been a major contributor and is expected to play a bigger role in SAIC’s overseas expansion.

MG sold 139,000 vehicles outside China last year, up 90 percent year-on-year, as the best-selling China-owned volume car brand in international markets. Its overseas sales accounted for around 40 percent of SAIC’s total.

Zhao Aimin, vice-president of SAIC Motor International Co, said MG would like to double its overseas sales in 2020.

MG is now available in around 60 countries and regions. Of them, there are eight major markets where annual sales stand at around 10,000, including the UK, Thailand and India.

Yu Jingmin, vice-president of SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Co that produces and sells MG-branded vehicles, said the brand’s popularity is the result of a combination of factors.

He said MG’s origin has made it attractive to overseas customers, especially those in the UK. Known for developing race cars, MG will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024.

Based on its history and reputation, SAIC’s outstanding engineering, marketing and service capabilities and MG-branded vehicles’ quality and new features have made them appealing in international markets, Yu said.

He said the vehicles’ smart functions, which include voice-command, have helped fuel the company’s popularity in Thailand. In the first nine months of 2019, MG had acquired a 2.5 percent market share, overtaking Japan’s Suzuki in the country.

Another example, the electric SUV EZS, has a five-star rating in the European New Car Assessment Program and is compatible with 95 percent of charging poles across European countries, much higher than the industry average.

MG has sped up its delivery time to two weeks, and has set up a service network to ensure vehicles can be serviced easily, which have also helped it win customers.

In 2019, more than 10,000 of MG’s EZS vehicles were exported to Europe. They were especially popular in the UK, Norway and the Netherlands.

Zhao said growth momentum will continue and MG’s electric vehicles will see a rise in sales in the European market this year. “We are confident that our sales in the region will hit 100,000 in the future,” Zhao said.

He expects sales in the Middle East, India and other major markets to rise as well as the brand is to offer new models in 2020.

Its India plant produced 20,000 vehicles in 2019, and MG aims to double production this year. Zhao said it will makes further investment in the country.

“After three to five years’ development, it will become a market of 100,000 or even 200,000 for us,” Zhao said. China Daily


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