Shanghai-owned British marque brand MG is officially entering India next year and is planning to launch its first SUV, which will take on the Hyundai Creta and Jeep Compass, in Q2 2019. The announcement was made at the ongoing MG global product and manufacturing prowess showcase in Shanghai, China.
As speculated earlier, the first MG SUV to reach Indian shores is pegged to be based on the Baojun 530, which was spotted testing on Indian roads earlier this year, along with the Roewe RX5 SUV. The Baojun 530, which made its international debut in March 2018, is the product of a partnership between SAIC, GM and Wuling. It is a five-seat SUV that measures 4655mm long, 1835mm wide and 1760mm tall.
In China, the Baojun 530 is powered by a choice of two petrol engines: a 1.5-litre turbo and a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated unit. However, in India it will be available with both petrol and diesel engine options. While the diesel engine is confirmed to be the same 2.0-litre engine that powers the Jeep Compass in India, the specs of the petrol engine that will come to India remain unknown.
MG has kept all the details about the upcoming SUV, dubbed the ‘Internet’ SUV, under wraps so far. But what is known for certain is that the carmaker has completed its acquisition of GM’s Halol manufacturing facility and is set to commence production in 2019. MG India is currently revamping the production line for its models and has planned an annual capacity of 80,000 units. What we have learnt is that MG India is also equipped to ramp up production to up to 2 lakh units annually as and when the need arises. Definite signs of a long-term strategy for India from MG and SAIC.
At the conference held today, MG also confirmed that the much-talked about electric SUV is also on the cards for India and will go on sale by 2020. Both the electric and the Internet SUV will feature technologies like built-in Wi-Fi, AI-enabled services, cloud-based services and over-the-air updates.
MG’s parent company SAIC is currently working on next generation AI-based, motoring cloud computing technologies to develop applications for deeper integration of artificial intelligence in the automotive industry.
Most of these technologies could feature in the upcoming e-SUV from MG for the Indian market, which could probably be the Roewe ERX5 showcased at the MOVE Summit recently. In China, it is powered by an electric motor that produces 115PS of power and 255Nm of peak torque. Powering the motor is a decently-sized 48.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack that offers a range of over 400km.
MG has put its plans in place to be a serious player in the utility vehicle space and could also come out with other crossovers and hatchbacks in India subsequently. And while the Baojun 530-based SUV will take on the likes of the Jeep Compass, Hyundai Creta, Tata Hexa and the Mahindra XUV500, the pure-electric SUV from a large scale manufacturer like MG could further pave way for affordable sustainable mobility in India in the coming years.