If you should tire of Alfa Romeo’s latest new plans, Morris Garages (MG) have perhaps a more credible alternative set of ambitions reported today, a new roadster.
Coincidental to my recent posting on returns from the grave, MG has announced a plan to revive its MG roadsters, with a view to returning to the US market. Edmunds’ journalist Richard Bremner reported that SAIC, owners of MG, have revealed this much without any supporting illustrations of the mooted car**. There are good questions about whether SAIC and its MG division can reconquer a niche ceded entirely to Mazda’s MX-5. In principle, a good enough vehicle could do this but perhaps MG would be happy with just annexing a part of this market rather than wholesale domination.
In following up on this subject, I thought I would draw your attention to the Morris Garages range and some of its news. MG offers two lines of cars, a Golf-class hatchback called the MG-3 (from £8400) and the MG-6 (from £15,500] which is in between the Focus saloon and Mondeo saloon scale. That comes as a five-door or a booted saloon given the Magnette nameplate.
The current MG-3 is a new model, launched in 2013 and must not be confused with the first MG-3 which was a back-from-the-dead Rover 25 with a lot of make-up. It has 1.3 and 1.5 litre engines and is even available with a pseudo off-roady body kit paired with the 1.5 litre engine. The MG-6, criticised for its coarse interior and odd looks, dates from 2010 but has its roots in a late-stage development of the Rover 75 which means it has origins in a BMW 5-series from when the Hohenzollerns reigned. It has been rated for its handling but the engines are thirsty and the quality appropriate to its lowish price.
MG has also received a little medal in the form of third place in the 2014 UK Driver Power awards. Here’s a bit of what the MG website had to say on this: “MG adds another podium position to its 90th year celebrations after being voted the third best manufacturer in the UK*** in the highly influential 2014 Auto Express Driver Power Survey. This tops off a superb return to Driver Power for MG, which also saw the MG6 take sixth place in the model rundown as well as being crowned best-handling car.
British brands took second and third place with MG finishing just behind Jaguar, with scores of 89.34 per cent and 88.98 per cent respectively. Steve Fowler, Editor-in-Chief of Auto Express, said: “While some brands have exceeded expectations and scored highly for particular categories, MG has scored well across the board. It took second place in the handling section and third place for both ride quality and seat comfort. It’s great to see British brands doing well.”
What about the Magnette, on sale since 2011? Yet another revenant from the annals of motoring this. The Magnette designation was a mildly warmer version of a range of BMC saloons of varying degrees of stodginess which also included the Morris Oxford VI, Riley 4/72,Austin A60 Cambridge and Wolseley 16/60. Not since 1968 has this name been in use so one wonders quite how many people are going to respond positively to the reference or even understand where it came from.
** I realise this sort of exercise constitutes a teaser campaign but since it is apposite to my theme of life-after-multiple deaths, I feel justified in giving it airtime.
***Does this mean the third best UK-based maker or cars or the third best maker of cars sold in the UK? There is a big difference.