MG’s next targets? The Toyota Camry and Kluger

Posted on June 30, 2024Comments Off on MG’s next targets? The Toyota Camry and Kluger

MG is continuing to enter new segments, announcing plans to launch both a mid-sized passenger car and a three-row SUV.

In addition to confirming the MG 7 fastback for our market, which had previously been ruled out, MG has confirmed it will launch a seven-seat SUV.

“We can confirm that we’re on track to bring a seven-seat SUV to Australia in the very near future,” said MG Australia senior product and strategy manager Akshat Ahuja.

“This car will take full advantage of its innovative design with a spacious interior and what is likely to be best-in-class headroom.”

It hasn’t confirmed a name, but the new flagship SUV is likely to be a rebadged RX9 from fellow SAIC Motor brand Roewe, which will neatly slot in above the next-generation MG HS due this year that’s set to be a lightly restyled Roewe RX5.

MG has already confirmed the RX9 for the Philippines, though it may need to wear a different nameplate in Australia given Mazda has trademarked the RX-9 name here.

The RX9 entered production in 2022 in China, and measures 4983mm long, 1967mm wide and 1786mm tall on a 2915mm wheelbase.

That makes it 17mm longer, 37mm wider and 31mm taller than a Toyota Kluger on a 65mm longer wheelbase.

It’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 178kW of power and 392Nm of torque, mated with a nine-speed automatic transmission and available with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Inside, there’s what Roewe calls a ’47-inch ring screen’, comprising a digital instrument cluster, an infotainment touchscreen, and a passenger display sitting alongside each other and stretching almost entirely across the dashboard.

Available creature comforts include a panoramic sunroof; 256-colour ambient lightings; heated, ventilated, power-adjustable and massaging front seats with memory; and power-adjustable second-row captain’s chairs with heating, ventilation and massage.

There’s also a full suite of active safety technology available including autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert.

Entering a considerably less popular segment will be the MG 7, which also entered production in 2022.

“We are close to finalising the specifications for the Australian market, and will confirm closer to launch but we have both petrol and hybrid under evaluation for the MG7.”

It’s due by late 2024 or early 2025, with pricing and specifications set to be confirmed closer to launch.

The MG 7 measures 4884mm long, 1889mm wide, 1447mm tall and rides a 2778mm wheelbase.

This makes it 19mm shorter, 49mm wider and 2mm taller than the outgoing Toyota Camry, on a 47mm shorter wheelbase.

In China, it’s offered with a choice of a 138kW/300Nm turbo 1.5-litre four mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, or a 192kW/405Nm turbo 2.0-litre four mated with a nine-speed auto.

2.0-litre models are offered with an adjustable sports exhaust, adjustable electronically controlled suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential, and an “adjustable high-performance sports exhaust sound”.

Inside, there’s a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, while available comfort and convenience features include a panoramic sunroof, an augmented reality head-up display, a 14-speaker Bose Centerpoint sound system, and heated and power-adjustable front seats.

As with the RX9, there’s a full suite of active safety and driver assist technology available, including a surround-view camera with a transparent chassis mode.

MG is entering the mass-market mid-sized passenger car segment in Australia even after myriad brands have departed it, including Ford, Kia and Subaru. The Toyota Camry also has a more than 60 per cent share of the segment.

“Every car in every segment has to play a role, including the MG7 and although we are very dedicated to EV and hybrid, we will still offer some fuel efficient variants in our range for the immediate future,” said Mr Ahuja.

MG has never offered a mid-sized passenger car in Australia since coming under Chinese ownership, and has never offered a three-row SUV here.

It has, however, offered two different three-row SUVs overseas: the RX8, a rebadged Roewe offered in markets like the Middle East; and the Gloster, a rebadged LDV D90 offered in India.

The MG 7 and new SUV come as part of a significant expansion into more expensive vehicle segments between now and 2027.

“From MG 3 to Cyberster… each $10,000 I will put one model there [by 2027],” MG Motor Australia CEO Peter Ciao told CarExpert in June.

“That means from 20 to 30, from 30 to 40, 40 to 50, and even 60 to 70, 70 to 80, 80 to 90 – all the segments, I will have a model launch for that.”

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