British automaker MG Motor on Wednesday unveiled its first internet car Hector in the country, slated for the launch next month. The MG Motor India, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s SAIC Motor Corp, plans to expand its portfolio in India to four products, including an electric SUV by next year-end, company’s president and managing director Rajeev Chaba said 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 told PTI. With extensive localisation, more than 300 India- specific changes have been carried out in the SUV MG Hector to suit the customer preferences and road conditions, according to the company.
Besides, with over 50 connected features it will also be the first 48V hybrid SUV with 19 exclusive features, Chaba said. The mid-size Hector would stir up the competition in the Rs 12-25 lakh vehicle segment, which already has the presence of Mahindra’s XUV 500, Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass, Hyundai’s Creta, among others.
According to Chaba, the Rs 10-25 lakh segment is not a volume segment, adding that the company aims to establish the brand and service network first before entering the volume segment. Sounding optimistic about the long-term growth potential of the domestic automobile industry, 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.”
In April, domestic auto sale numbers dropped by a nearly eight-year low of 17.1 per cent to 247,541 units from the year-ago period according to the industry data. Car sales in April slumped almost 20 per cent. “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 BSVI, there is going to be a huge surge in sales in the last quarter of this year,” he said.
Things will start changing after the elections with August-September months likely to be good in terms of sales and December quarter of the calendar going to be a bumper period, he added. He said the company has already invested Rs 2,200 crore in setting up its business in India, including the manufacturing plant at Halol in Gujarat and dealerships, among others, adding, “overall, we are looking at Rs 5,000 crore investment in four years period.”
The company has a production capacity of 80,000 units per annum and has the provision to increase the capacity going forward depending upon the requirement. “I would like to believe before the end of this year we need to finalise our capacity expansion plans,” he said. Chaba also said that as part of the network expansion, the company plans to have 250 touch points, which include both dealerships as well as workshops by September from 120 across 50 cities at present.
The Hector will be available in both petrol and diesel engines. The bookings will commence from early June and the deliveries will start from June end, Chaba said.
Recently, MG Motor kick started production of the Hector SUV in India. MG Hector SUV will be the largest in this class with a length of 4655 mm, a width of 1835 mm and a height of 1760 mm. It will come with a set of large 10-spoke alloy wheels and large outside rear-view mirrors with integrated turn signal lights. Other features the SUV is expected to offer include a premium cabin equipped with power adjustable seats, electronic parking brake, 360-degree camera and cruise control.
Up front, the car has a split-headlamp setup with the DRLs at the top and quad-headlamp elements in the bumpers. The fog lamps underline the headlamps and get a chrome surround for the entire unit. The car also has an electrically operated tailgate with LED taillamps.
Inside the Hector, there’s a 10.4-inch touchscreen running the iSMART system. It runs on an in-car Android-based OS with 4G connectivity. The system also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and gets a Gaana and Accuweather premium account for free. It further enables the SUV to pack features like voice commands for vehicle controls like sunroof and climate control.
The car also has a real-time traffic updates, tyre pressure monitoring system, climate control and weather updates on the big screen itself.
MG Hector will come with the option of both, petrol and diesel powertrains - 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder engine and the Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre oil burner engine respectively. Transmission options could include both manual and automatic option.
(With inputs from PTI)
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