The MG 6 hatchback has been dropped from the UK after the brand decided not to update its diesel engine to meet Euro 6 regulations, the company has said.
Sales of the MG 6 were running at a fraction of those of the MG 3 supermini. Last year, the company sold 548 of the MG 6, compared with 2603 sales of the smaller MG 3 hatch, according to statistics from JATO Dynamics. The company has stopped building the model at its factory in Longbridge, Birmingham, where the MG 3 is assembled.
Last year MG, which is owned by Chinese automotive giant SAIC Motor, axed the petrol version of the MG 6 in order to concentrate on the diesel.
The 1.9-litre diesel engine was developed in-house by SAIC for both Europe and the Chinese market. However, SAIC’s plan to push diesel in its home market foundered, making the engine uneconomical to develop further for the UK. No MG model will now use the engine.
“A while ago some very senior people within SAIC made representations to China’s government about diesel passenger cars, but then the Volkswagen story broke,” said Iain Fleming, engine boss at SAIC’s UK technical centre in Longbridg. “Diesel cars are going nowhere in China,” he said.
MG has just started selling the petrol-only GS SUV, which uses a new 1.5-litre turbocharged engine developed with General Motors. MG UK hasn’t ruled out fitting the SUV with the diesel engine in future, but it seems unlikely given the cost to update the emissions technology to pass the stringent EU 6 regulations, which are tougher on toxic exhaust gases such as NOx.
Fleming said MG and its sister brand Roewe are instead concentration on hybrids and pure electric cars in China. The company gave no timetable for introducing hybrid models into the UK.
Despite losing the MG 6, sales and marketing director Matthew Cheyne predicted that MG sales will hit 5000 units this year, up from 3158 last year. At the end of next year, MG will import a new supermini SUV to the UK to rival the likes of the Renault Captur and Vauxhall Mokka.