MG Motor India bets on high customer experience, localisation level for success

by Sumantra B Barooah 28 Mar 2018

Rajeev Chaba: "There's a lot of scope and opportunity in the area or customer experience in India, be it sales or aftersales."

Come 2019, India will see the entry of at least two new passenger vehicle brands. One of them is MG Motor, owned by China's largest automaker SAIC Motor. The brand with a British history has set some significant goals for itself.

Starting with a volume of 25,000-30,000 units in the first year, MG Motor India expects to ramp up to 200,000 units by 2024-25. Leading the charge will be an SUV scheduled for launch in the April-June quarter of 2019. It could be in the same segment as the Hyundai Creta. The localisation level of the SUV will be "over 80 percent". Entry into the big volume sub-4-metre category could happen later.

Though a new model, the first product will be another SUV in the market and MG Motor India will have to offer more value to customers for them to try out the new brand and product. MG Motor India is working on new strategies to provide value beyond the product. "There's a lot of scope and opportunity in the area or customer experience in our country, be it sales or aftersales. So, I think it's better to go slow and give the right experience and build from that base," says Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India, a little while before addressing a group of prospective dealers in a first such event by the company in Mumbai today. MG Motor India is looking at a network of 300 'touch-points' in 5 years.

One product each year after 2019
MG Motor India plans to launch at least one product every year after 2019. These could also be based on platforms available in parent SAIC's wide portfolio. MG Motor India is not bullish about future prospects of diesel vehicles. MG Motor India says that it could offer a diesel variant wherever required, either sourced from sister brand Maxus, which has a 2.0-litre diesel engine, or another OEM. "In the automotive world, we have a lot of collaborations globally and we keep talking to other players for any synergies, cooperation and collaborations. So, if we need to outsource diesel engines, we wouldn’t shy away from that and will tap into that source," says Chaba.

MG Motor India's plant in Gujarat's Halol, acquired from General Motors India, is undergoing renovation, which Chaba says is "happening ahead of schedule". Rs 2,000 crore will be invested in the first two years. A total of Rs 5,000 crore is earmarked for investment in 5-6 years.

Also read: SAIC Motor Corp: 5 interesting facts