Roewe takes the familiar route of targeting the aspirational Chinese motorist, looking for luxury European engineering at a Chinese price. MG takes the similarly well trodden path of targeting the younger market, interested in a sporty European car. Having a supermini is key to this market, just look how well the MG ZR sold, indeed even the MG3 SW managed to sell on par with the Roewe 750 in China.
SAIC wasted no time in seizing this opportunity after their shotgun wedding to NAC. A little over two years after the merger the first MG3 test car was sighted in China, in retrospect we can see that beneath the camouflage the design was pretty much finalized. Official conformation of the cars development came at the April 2010 Beijing Auto Show, with the MG Zero concept
. This what not only important in China but also in the UK, with the concept getting air time on the MG Motor UK website, showing the companies future intent.
The MG3 would be officially revealed in December of the same year, at the Guangzhou Auto Show. Fully revealing the carís sophisticated design, it certainly looked a lot fresher than itís MG3 SW predecessor. However reports from the show floor suggested that the looks werenít fully backed up by quality, the interior falling short of European supermini expectations. However at the price the car is sold for, itís not entirely surprising; a Cheverolet Aveo will set you back £8,200 in China, while the MG3 comes in at £6,999.
Reviews were positive, calling it highly apt for itís target market, and keenly priced. Backed up with a big advertising campaign, sales begun in March 2011. Engines offered are 1.3 and 1.5 litre petrol engines (88 bhp and 108 bhp respectively) mated to either a 5-speed manual or automated manual. The MG3 SW was selling well, but the MG3 sold better, selling in the volumes of the MG6 and Roewe 550.
The MG3 SW wasnít forgotten however, the 4x4 styling seemed more of a success in China than it managed in the UK, so itís no surprise that similar treatment was bestowed on the brand new MG3. Called the MG3 Xross (thatís not a typo), the jacked up special heads up the range, using the same engines as the lower models. Rumours of a hotter MG3 with a turbocharged 1.5 engine have yet to bear fruit.
In the UK the MG3 is definitely coming, itís clear the car will need a certain level of re-engineering to meet UK standards of interior quality and on the road ability. MG3ís are present on UK soil for European evaluation, and rumor has it the car will be launched in Q4 2012, with a price tag from £12k. The car is likely to be assembled in the UK from knock-down kits in much the same way as the MG6 and TF before it. The biggest problem could be making the engine meet current Euro emissions standards, which at present it does not, the second is trying to make a dent in the UKís biggest market segment.