January saw Chinese-owned MG continue its ascent up the new car sales charts – within 50 sales of the Top 10 brands in Australia.

    Posting monthly growth of 162 per cent to 2408 units in the first month of 2021, MG Motor was less than 40 units of 10th-placed Mercedes-Benz Cars (2443 units).

    The strong result comes as Chinese-made car sales usurped German and American-made sales for the first time in Australia.

    MG also outsold Isuzu, Honda, BMW and Suzuki in January, all of which were well ahead of the Chinese-owned brand in the same month of 2020. Each of the brand’s model lines also had strong starts to the year.

    By a country mile its top-seller was the ZS crossover line – including the newer ZST as well as the ZS EV – with 1253 sales in January representing growth of a whopping 327.6 per cent.

    The ZS was the second-best selling Small SUV nameplate in January too, just 25 units behind the first-placed Mitsubishi ASX (1278 units). MG held 12.7 per cent of one of Australia’s fastest-growing vehicle segments.

    For reference, the mainstream Small SUV segment grew by 30.7 per cent in January and the Small SUV segment overall (mainstream and premium) accounted for 14.7 per cent of the total market – an increase of 2.0 per cent.

    The MG 3 once again took out pole position in the Light Passenger segment, managing 859 sales for 21.1 per cent share of the segment’s sales – also posting growth of 73.5 per cent.

    One in five light car sales are MG 3 hatchbacks. Segment stalwarts like the Suzuki Swift (562 units), Volkswagen Polo (526 units) and Toyota Yaris (486 units) are falling further and further behind in the sales race.

    Part of the MG 3’s appeal no doubt is the fact it’s one of the cheapest new cars on sale in Australia, currently advertised from $16,690 drive-away for the entry-level Core.

    Finally, the brand’s local flagship – the HS mid-size SUV – returned 296 sales in January representing growth of 126 per cent.

    The HS wasn’t a patch on the top-selling Toyota RAV4 (3066 units) or Mazda CX-5 (2081 units), but it was within breathing distance of the new Ford Escape (333 units) and outsold the soon-to-be facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan (188 units) and Skoda Karoq (131 units).

    MG recently launched a new entry-level version of the HS from $29,990 drive-away, and later this year will introduce a plug-in hybrid variant to duke it out with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV as well as the upcoming Ford Escape PHEV and Peugeot 3008 PHEV models.

    The Medium SUV segment is by far Australia’s largest (18.7 per cent share, 14,896 units), so no doubt the Chinese-owned brand will want a greater presence in that part of the market.

    Further to MG’s success in January, Australians bought more Chinese-built vehicles (4198 units) than American- (2056 units) and German-made (3078 units) ones. How times are changing.

    As 2021 rolls on, we can’t help but predict MG could be a mainstay in Australia’s Top 10 car brands by the end of the year.

    MORE: Everything MG

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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