Last week, we reported that the Philippine distributor of British car brand Morgan will be bringing to our shores another British (and much more affordable) brand called MG. Things are now official as Morris Garages Philippines, the new company and official distributor of MG, launched the Birmingham-based brand on Wednesday at its showroom.
Morris Garages Philippines will initially offer three models in standard (base) trim with automatic transmissions. These are the MG 3 hatchback, the MG 5 hatchback and the MG 350 sedan.
We got the chance to check out these vehicles at the MG brand launch. Let's start off with the smallest and most affordable of the bunch: the B-segment MG 3 hatchback. This trim gets an 89hp 1.3-liter gasoline engine mated to a five-speed semi-automatic transmission. You can opt for a Mini-esque two-tone paint job and further personalize it with roof decals. Its price? A reasonable P695,000.
Next up is the larger C-segment MG 5 hatchback that incorporates sharper and more aggressive lines. This model gets a 107hp 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. This model costs P795,000.
The C-segment MG 350 sedan, meanwhile, is probably the most conservative model in the lineup. It's equipped with the same 107hp 1.5-liter gasoline engine and the same four-speed automatic transmission as the MG 5. It's priced slightly lower at P745,000.
All standard trim models offer a host of standard safety and convenience features like dual airbags, ABS+EBD, power features, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, auxiliary audio jack (plus USB port on the MG 3), and rear parking sensors. Corner brake control is standard on the MG 350 and the MG 5, with the latter also getting ESP as standard. "Follow Me Home" headlight time delay is standard on the MG 3 and the MG 5. All models get steel wheels with full covers.
According to Morris Garages Philippines CEO Morgan Say, manual-transmission variants and more powerful higher-end variants with alloy wheels will also be made available. Expect more MG models like the sporty MG GT compact four-door coupe and the MG GS compact crossover to arrive later this year.
MG was established back in 1924 by Cecil Kimber, an employee of William Morris. Early MGs were souped-up Morris models. In its nine-decade history, the brand is best known for producing iconic sports cars like the TC, the TD, the TF, the MGA and the MGB. It also built a range of practical sedans with a dash of sportiness like the Magnette, the 1100, the 1300 and, more recently, the ZR, the ZS and the ZT.
The MG brand is currently owned by SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation), but its engineering and design center remains in Birmingham in the UK. We believe the MG 3, the MG 5 and the MG 350 are all made in China.
Those who are interested may check out the new MG showroom at 241 Midway Court Building on EDSA Greenhills, Mandaluyong City.
Photos by Andrew Guerrero