MG (Morris Garage) Motor India is gearing up to launch its first electric SUV in India by the end of this calendar year.
It has also re-opened bookings for its flagship brand, the MG Hector. It will commence a second production shift next month and will hire close to 500 people for this.
“We will be launching the electric SUV, the MG eZS, by December,” said Gaurav Gupta, chief commercial officer for customer experience and marketing. The five-seater went on sale in Britain last month.The positioning of this maiden electric vehicle (EV) offering, said Gupta, would be consistent with the company’s overall positioning in the Indian market.
“We are working with everyone in the EV eco-system, including the charging infrastructure firm and battery maker, to ensure a seamless experience to customers,” he said.
The model will be pitted against the Hyundai Kona in India. The EV offering is one among the four new SUVs that MG plans to launch over two years as it seeks to bolster presence in a market where it is a late entrant. Gupta said the company was confident the eZS would be a “catalyst of change” in the nascent EV market.
MG is going ahead despite a lack of clarity on the government’s EV policy and other inconsistencies, said Gupta. Citing an instance, he said some states have waived registration charges on EVs but others have not. A few states issue a green number plate but not others. Also, there is a gap between what is announced and what is actually implemented, he said.
Encouraged by government incentives, automakers have been announcing plans for EVs that are more aspirational and address issues relating to charging infrastructure and range. For instance, Mahindra & Mahindra announced last month that it would launch an all-electric XUV300, followed by a Mahindra-badged electric version of the Ford Aspire, likely to launch in 2021.
Similarly, addressing varied price points, Tata Motors plans to drive in a new range of EVs, including a small SUV, among a host of other offerings in the months ahead.
Meanwhile, encouraged by demand for the Hector, MG reopened bookings for the model on September 29. It plans to commence an additional second shift at the factory. The British brand, with a Chinese parent, has retailed over 6,000 units since its launch in June and has an order book of 1,8000 to 19,000 units. In the eight days since it restarted bookings, it has got orders for 8,000 units, said Gupta. “The momentum has been reassuring. It puts a lot of responsibility as a company on us,” he said.
On Thursday, MG opened a showroom, which it terms a ‘brand experience store’ in South Mumbai. This is the second one, the first being in Gurugram (Gurgaon).
Both the showrooms share the overall look and feel of the carmaker’s futuristic customer approach and British heritage. It now has a total of six centres in Mumbai and 120 across India. The aim is to boost this to 250 centres across India by the end of this year.