The success of MG in Australia has created a blueprint and set a benchmark for the Chinese manufacturer as it seeks to further expand its global footprint.

    Launched officially in 2016 under the leadership of CEO Peter Ciao, MG Australia has gone from selling just 600 cars in 2017 to 49,582 in 2022.

    To the end of July 2023, the brand has a 4.7 percent market share with more than 32,000 deliveries according to VFACTS sales data – up from 4.4 percent and 27,500 sales in the same period last year.

    To put those figures in context, so far in 2023 MG is the seventh best-selling brand in Australia overall, outselling the likes of Tesla, Subaru, Volkswagen, Isuzu Ute, GWM, and Nissan.

    The success of the brand in Australia and New Zealand proved to MG in China that a direct factory-backed operation in Western markets was a significantly more successful approach than local distributor-led models.

    Speaking to CarExpert at the launch of the MG 4 electric car in Sydney this week, Mr Ciao said work on the Western market strategy commenced at MG’s headquarters in Shanghai, but the brand’s Western export success “started in Australia”.

    After the brand’s sales success here, MG set its sights on Europe (with over 300,000 vehicles sold so far) and Mexico which have since gone on to prove productive expansions for the ambitious brand – so much so that it’s confirmed plans to build a factory in Europe, making it the first manufacturer from China to build and produce vehicles on the continent.

    Mr Ciao believes with the brand’s continuing success now in markets such as Australia, Europe, and Mexico, it is building up its “experience and confidence to go to America”.

    The other net benefit to Australian buyers is that MG’s success here has allowed it a certain level of product influence, meaning local product planners and Australian customer voices are being heard in Shanghai and having an effect on what features come in future products.

    The launch of the MG 4 EV for under $40,000 in addition to healthy supply is likely to result in another sales success for the Chinese-owned British brand in 2023 as it seeks to cement its position as a top-selling brand in Australia.

    With the Japanese and to an extent even the South Koreans having moved upmarket from a price positioning and product perspective, MG’s sales success is likely to only face a challenge from other Chinese manufacturers such as GWM and BYD.

    Alborz Fallah

    Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine. The best way to reach him is via Instagram.

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