Friday, January 26, 2024
Automotive
Jim Starling

MG’s sibling brand heading to the UK?

Autocar’s latest report reveals that SAIC, the parent company of MG, is in the advanced stages of planning to introduce its premium electric car brand, IM Motors, to the discerning UK market.

Founded in late 2020 through a collaborative effort involving SAIC, Alibaba Group, and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Group, IM Motors marked its entry with the L7 executive saloon in 2021, showcasing innovative features such as a 93kWh battery providing a remarkable range of up to 382 miles. Further expanding its lineup, IM Motors recently launched the LS6 and LS7 SUVs, positioning them as direct competitors to Tesla’s Model Y and Model X, respectively. These SUVs are priced attractively between £32,000 and £52,000 in their native China.

A significant development for IM Motors occurred last year when it entered into a technical partnership with Audi, signaling a departure from the Volkswagen Group’s delayed SSP architecture for a range of Chinese-market EVs.

While IM Motors has already established a modest presence in the UK, showcasing one of its vehicles at MG’s flagship showroom in Marylebone, London, to gauge public reception, its formal entry into the UK market is eagerly anticipated.  IM Motors could be ready to challenge the likes of BYD and Tesla.

Industry insiders suggest that the UK launch is slated for 2025, strategically positioned after MG’s comprehensive lineup refresh. This includes new models such as the MG 3 and MG HS, an updated MG 4, and the second-generation Marvel-R SUV. However, a potential hurdle in this timeline could be the establishment of a European factory, with speculations pointing towards the UK as a likely location, enabling efficient production for right-hand-drive markets.

Curiously, it remains unclear whether the new models will retain their IM branding upon entering the UK or if they will adopt the iconic MG badges. Notably, some MG-branded models currently available in the UK are sourced from alternate SAIC brands, such as the MG 5, originally the Roewe Ei5 in China, and the forthcoming re-styled MG HS, based on the Roewe RX5.

In a related development, Australian magazine Wheels has reported that the IM LS7 and L7 could be considered for sale in Australia, another right-hand-drive market. Furthermore, they suggest that these models might be branded with the MG logo. When queried about these potential expansions, a spokesperson for MG UK maintained a cautious stance, stating, “IM Motors are currently operating in China selling premium electric vehicles. There has been no confirmation of a UK launch, and MG Motor UK cannot comment on the brand at this point. SAIC Motors will be providing more information on this in due course.”

Check out the source article by Charlie Martin at Autocar

Jim Starling is the face of YouTube’s DefinitelyNotAGuru and is a featured presenter on the Men & Motors YouTube Channel. Find Jim at ‍notaguru.co.uk

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