NEW DELHI: MG Motor has no plans to remain an SUV-exclusive brand even as all its products in the Indian market so far have been SUVs, said the company’s President and MD Rajeev Chaba.
MG’s upcoming product in the Indian market will also be an SUV. Expected to hit Indian roads by Diwali this year, the Astor, MG’s upcoming vehicle, will take on established players such as Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. The company’s two more future products are expected to be SUVs. One is likely to be a sub-compact segment that will compete against the likes of Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Hyundai Venue while the other one is reported to be an electric vehicle.
At present, MG has four SUVs in its India lineup- Hector, Hector Plus, ZS EV and Gloster. “Yes, we were right with our projection to enter the Indian market with an SUV (Hector). We will get into other segments as well but right now our main focus is to fully utilise our Halol plant and become a profitable and sustainable business,” Chaba told TNIE.
To differentiate its SUV from rivals, MG is relying heavily on connected features and artificial intelligence. Chaba said that Astor will have technological capabilities that are unheard of in the segment.
“We are trying to differentiate because the competition in this segment is very tough. Obviously the car has to be very competitive in styling, power, mileage, price and things like that, but we need to do more,” Chaba said.
Among many tech related features, Astor will get a personal AI assistant robot and would be equipped with autonomous level 2, which is powered by mid-range radars and a multi-purpose camera that can realise a series of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
MG retails around 4,000 vehicles per month and with Astor it expects the number to surpass 7,000-mark. Halol plant, which was previously owned by General Motors, has a manufacturing capacity of 80,000-100,000 units. MG expects to fully utilise this facility in the next 12-18 months. Asked if the company would be expanding its existing plant or is planning to set-up a new unit in a different state, Chaba said, “We will talk about this in future. We are open to all options.”
However, MG’s plan to reach peak capacity has few obstacles. Like other automakers, MG is also hit by semi-conductor shortage that is impacting its production. Right now, MG can only fulfill between 70-80% of the total demand.