Australia’s top-selling city car – the MG 3 hatch from China – is due for replacement by a new model in the UK next year, and local deliveries may not be far behind.
A successor to the MG 3 city car is due in overseas showrooms within the next 12 months – with petrol power – and it is believed to be on the wish list for Australia.
The Chinese-made MG 3 has been the best-selling city car in Australia for the past three years – and one of two new cars remaining under $20,000 drive-away – but the current model’s future is under threat amid new requirements for crash-avoidance technology that it lacks.
Reports out of the UK late last year claimed a successor to the MG 3 is due in UK showrooms within the next 12 to 18 months – under a different name – with a petrol engine, rather than electric power.
MG Australia executives would not confirm if the next-generation car would be petrol or electric, but said any potential replacement for the MG 3 was “under consideration” for local showrooms.
“At this point I can say [it is] under consideration. [The current model is] reaching the end of its life cycle, but it’s … still the best-selling car in that segment, so people still want and are interested in that,” MG Australia communications and public relations manager David Giammetta told media at a preview of the new MG 4 electric car.
He later added: “We know there’s a demand for the MG 3 and we’re keen to continue that model, whatever that looks like in the future.”
MG general manager of marketing Rick Whaite told media: “We’re not walking away from value and we still need products like that, to give people the opportunity to have a brand new car with a seven-year warranty.
“It is approaching the end of its life. We do have a very clear pipeline around things that are in the future, but as we talked about earlier … the UK is a little bit further ahead of us. So the conversations that you’re hearing [are] in line with where their market sits right now.”
Mr Whaite acknowledged any new MG 3 would take longer to reach Australia than the 12-to-18-month timeframe reported for the UK.
The next-generation MG 3 offered in Australia may not be the same vehicle offered overseas, as executives acknowledged it could apply the MG 3 name to other cars within MG parent company SAIC Motor’s global model range.
“Everything is under consideration, but we could essentially take other models from our parent company, and [they] could then take that [MG 3] nameplate,” Mr Giammetta told media.
Reports out of the UK say the MG 3 replacement will stick with petrol power to keep the price down, however MG Australia executives acknowledged it would “likely” eventually switch to electric propulsion – though no plans have been locked in.
Although the MG 3 meets all current Australian safety regulations, it lacks key advanced safety features that will become mandatory here and overseas within the next two years.
Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is due to become a requirement for all new cars on sale in Australia from March 2025 – or in Europe from July 2024, where speed limiters and traffic sign recognition will also become requirements.
While MG could upgrade the current model – which is now 12 years old, launching in China in 2011 – with the technology, it is more likely that the new model will be introduced within the next two years.
When asked by Drive if the new MG 3 would arrive by the March 2025 deadline, or if the current model would be upgraded, Mr Whaite said: “I think your own insight before, when one of your earlier questions suggested the vehicle only had something in the vicinity of about 12 months life left, so I’ll let you answer your own question.”
The MG 3 is one of the oldest new vehicles on sale in Australia – irrespective of category – dating back to 2011 in China (or 2016 in Australia).
It was MG Australia’s second-most popular model in 2022, and the top seller in the ‘light car’ category, reporting 16,168 sales (up 17.4 per cent on 2021).
It is also one of two cars left on sale priced from less than $20,000 drive-away – at $19,490 drive-away after a recent price rise – alongside the smaller Kia Picanto hatchback.
But whereas the Kia is available with autonomous emergency braking – and is due for an update later this year that will extend the current model’s lifespan closer to 2025 – the MG is not available with any form of advanced safety technology.
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