MG Motor to drive in 2nd electric model in India in next 2 years

PTI, Jun 28, 2021, 9:46 AM IST

New Delhi: MG Motor India can launch a new electric vehicle with a price tag below the Rs 20 lakh mark in the country over the next two years, according to a top company official.

The model would be the automaker’s second electric vehicle in the country after the ZS SUV which is currently tagged between Rs 21 lakh and Rs 24.18 lakh (ex-showroom).

”We have been very pleased with our electric vehicle product performance till now. We intend to launch more electric cars in the future and hopefully, we can look at a car below Rs 20 lakh as our second EV in the future,” MG Motor India President and Managing Director Rajeev Chaba said.

The automaker, which also sells models like Hector and Gloster, has so far sold around 3,000 units of ZS EV in the country.

When asked about the timeline for the product launch, Chaba said, ”We are not defining the timelines now due to the COVID situation and shortages of essential materials, especially chips. So hopefully in two years, we can do it.”

On expectations in terms of policies to drive the growth of the EV sector, he said that the government has already lowered the tax on electric vehicles and the only thing required now is the development of charging infrastructure.

”Both the government and industry are working on it. Hopefully, things would again pick up once the COVID thing subsides,” Chaba said.

The automaker is also looking to drive in a mid-sized SUV later this year in order to muster volumes and move ahead in the direction of fully utilizing its Halol-based (Gujarat) manufacturing facility which has an installed capacity to roll out about one lakh cars per annum.

Chaba said the SUV launch got delayed by a few weeks due to the second wave of COVID-19 and is now expected to hit the market in the last quarter of this calendar year.

The company expects the SUV to be a volume generator for the company.

In 2020, the automaker had sold 28,162 units, as compared with 15,930 units in 2019 and aims to grow by around 70 per cent this year riding on the new launch and improved COVID situation.

India has seen a robust increase in SUV sales over the last few years. In 2015, the SUV segment contributed only 13.5 per cent to the overall passenger vehicle sales. This number became about 26 per cent in 2019 and rose to 29 per cent in 2020.

When asked about the plans to come up with a new manufacturing facility in the country, Chaba said that the project is ”not on the cards” at the moment.

He noted that the company plans to fully utilize the installed production capacity at its Gujarat-based plant before going in for a new facility which it had envisioned in the pre-COVID world.

The maker of Hector and Gloster SUVs had hoped to fully utilize the production capacity of the Halol-based (Gujarat) plant, which it acquired from General Motors, by this year-end.

But then nobody had an inkling about the coronavirus pandemic which has caused immense damage to the domestic automobile industry with lockdowns and restrictions impacting overall operations.

”We need to look at full utilization of the Halol facility. Due to the pandemic, our volumes have gone down so our first priority is that the Halol plant is fully utilized in terms of capacity and profitability. So I think we need to make sure of that. So the second plant is not on cards at the moment,” Chaba said.

Last year in February, before the coronavirus pandemic hit the country, the automaker had announced that it is looking to set up a new manufacturing plant in the country as it expected its existing plant in Gujarat to run out of capacity by the end of 2021.

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