If you had asked us whether we thought Chinese-made MGs would last in the Philippine market following their first entry into the market in 2015, the answer would have been definitely no.
The first company that was the importer (unofficially, apparently) of MG from early 2015 to mid 2018 made a series of rather dismal mistakes with marketing. To give you an idea, they used taglines such as "Small but Terrible" for the MG 3 hatchback and captions like "Only for the young. If you're 40 and above, please buy other brands" for another model.
And so customers did.
The new MG Motor Philippines, sailed past those problems. The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), the new distributor behind MG (and Chevrolet), left those hilarious issues in the distant past and went to work on marketing and selling properly.
The result is staggering: they sold 5,085 units in 2019.
The number may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but consider that MG was able to outperform other, more established brands and enter the top 10. Actually, MG's performance in 2019 was so good that they ranked 9th overall, edging out Kia by 66 units.
MG also garnered an unusual accolade in the process: by sales, MG is now the top-selling Chinese automobile brand in the Philippines. While British in heritage, MG is now owned and manufactured by SAIC.
“We at MG Philippines are thankful to our clients, our executive committee, dealer partners, media friends, our partners from SAIC Motor International, our bank partners, and the numerous agencies who worked with us, for making 2019 such a breakout year for the brand." said Atty. Alberto B. Arcilla, President and CEO of MG Philippines.
MG says they sold 500 passenger cars, but the overwhelming majority were crossovers with 4,585 SUVs. Clearly the most popular model was the MG ZS crossover with pricing that's more competitive towards B-segment sedans rather than crossovers. MG says the RX5 crossover, MG 6 Fastback Sedan, and the MG 5 sedan sold fairly well.
MG says much of their sales performance also resulted from their proactive aftersales programs such as a 5-year/100,000 kilometer warranty, 1-year free PMS, and even an app. They also established a mobile servicing program that allows customers to have their cars serviced at home in case there was no service center available or conveniently located nearby.
"We are very grateful for each and every one of you; for the contributions you have made in making MG Philippines what it is today, and for your continued support of this British heritage brand. We have exciting things in store for 2020 and we eagerly enter this new year and decade with renewed anticipation and excitement, bolstered by all the positive indicators we received in the past year,”
By year’s end, MG also intends to put up another 7 dealerships, targeting more key locations around the country.
The new MG really isn't small but terrible anymore.