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British car maker MG Motor unveiled their first SUV for India, the MG Hector, on Wednesday. Booking for the MG Hector will start in June and deliveries will commence later in the month.
MG Motor India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China's SAIC Motor Corp, plans to expand its portfolio to four products in India by the end of next year. These products will include an electric SUV. This statement comes from the company's President and Managing Director Rajeev Chaba after unveiling the vehicle.
"We have got approval for four product launches in the next 18 months. We have already announced our second product, which will be an electric SUV and which we plan to launch by this year. Also, we are firming up our third and fourth product launch. We would have four distinct brands of MG on the road by December 2020," Chaba said to PTI.
MG Motors has invested in extensive localisation, and over 300 India- specific changes have been made to the MG Hector SUV. The company says these changes are designed to suit the customer preferences and road conditions. The MG Hector also boasts of 50 connected features and is also the first 48V hybrid SUV with 19 exclusive features.
The mid-sized Hector would shake up competition in the Rs 12-25 lakh vehicle segment, which is dominated by the Mahindra XUV 500, Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass, and the Hyundai Creta. According to Mr Chaba, the Rs 10-25 lakh segment is not a volume oriented segment. He also said that the company aims to establish the brand and service network first before entering the volume segment.
When asked about long-term growth potentials about the Indian automobile industry, Mr Chaba said, "We are not here to look at short-term growth but it is about the long-term potential of the market. India will be a very attractive market in the long-term."
During April domestic auto sales numbers dropped by an eight-year low of 17.1 per cent to 247,541 units from last year. Car sales in April slumped almost 20 per cent. Mr Chaba said, "We have not changed any plan as of now. We believe this slowdown is temporary. It may last for another few months. I believe because of transition to BS-VI, there is going to be a huge surge in sales in the last quarter of this year."
He added that things would change after the elections, and that sales will be good during the August and September months, and December would see a massive increase in sales figures.
He said the company has invested Rs 2,200 crore to set up its business in India, and investmetns inclide a manufacturing facility at Halol, Gujarat, and also included dealerships. He added that the company was looking at an investment of Rs 5,000 crore over the next four years.
The company has a production capacity of 80,000 units a year, and has the bandwidth to increase production capacity when needed. "I would like to believe before the end of this year we need to finalize our capacity expansion plans," Mr Chaba added.
Mr Chaba also said that the company plans to have 250 touch points including dealerships and workshops by September. They want to be present at 120 cities in total. That's an increase of 70 cities form the current 50 they are present at.
The mid-sized Hector would shake up competition in the Rs 12-25 lakh vehicle segment, which is dominated by the Mahindra XUV 500, Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass, and the Hyundai Creta.