Chinese automaker SAIC has taken over General Motors’ Halol factory in Gujarat. SAIC will use the MG Motor brand to launch a slew of cars for the Indian market, beginning from 2019. The first MG Motor car for India is said to be a compact SUV that’ll rival the Hyundai Creta and Renault Duster.
Currently, the Creta-rivaling compact SUV that MG Motor has readily in its portfolio is the ZS. The SUV will soon go on sale in the UK, a right-hand drive (RHD) market, as the MG XS. Like the UK, India is also a RHD market. However, it remains to be seen if the MG XS/ZS makes it to India.
In its current form, the MG ZS is 4.5 meters long, which means that it’s much longer than both the Renault Duster and the Hyundai Creta. In fact, the 4.5 meter length puts it directly in Mahindra XUV500 territory. However, the Chinese SUV doesn’t really the engine options to justify its positioning against the XUV.
In China, it gets two petrol engines – a 1 liter-3 cylinder turbocharged unit that makes 123 Bhp-175 Nm, and a 1.5 liter naturally aspirated motor with 118 Bhp-150 Nm on tap. No diesel engine options – crucial for an Indian entry – exist for now. This SUV is already on sale in China.
Coming back to SAIC’s plans for India, MG Motor will increase the capacity of the former General Motors factory at Halol to 80,000 units/year, from the current 60,000 units/year. To this end, MG Motor will pump in 2,000 crore rupees as fresh investment into the GM factory.
Apart from the compact SUV, the automaker has planned two other vehicles for India – an MPV and a hatchback. While the SUV is slated for launch in 2019, the MPV or hatchback will follow in 2020. We expect MG Motor to shed more details about its Indian foray at the upcoming 2018 Auto Expo.