Chinese-owned automaker revealed a compact roadster that nods to its glorious past. Check out why the MG Cyberster is so important in today’s car market
There are so many SUVs in the market that this body style has become a commodity. Gone are the times when they had a rich historical background, such as the Range Rover’s ascension or the Grand Cherokee’s legacy. Models like the Kia EV9 and the Volkswagen Taos appear merely to appease their manufacturer’s FOMO on sales. Such context explains why all car fans should celebrate the MG Cyberster’s arrival.
If you are an avid reader of the blog, you will have noticed that I rarely write about one specific car model. You will also have noticed that this is the very first time I write anything about MG. In short, the Cyberster EV is the opportunity I have been waiting for. In this article, you are going to read a brief presentation of this automaker and its latest concoction and understand why it is so important in today’s car market.
What does MG stand for car?
In short, Morris Garages. Cecil Kimble founded the brand in the 1920s by modifying the Morris Oxford; he would add an MG Super Sports plate to the tuned car. The initiative had favorable reception and ended up making part of the automaker. Now, everything so far is quite common in the car world; AMG and Alpina, for example, started in the Mercedes-Benz and BMW tuning fields, respectively, by doing a similar job.
The main difference is that the automaker went through many changes. It became Morris Motors in 1935; merged with Austin to create the British Motor Corporation Limited in 1952; and merged with Leyland in 1968 to become British Leyland. Then, it became the Rover Group in 1986; was partially nationalized two years later; sold to BMW in 1994; resold in 2000; bought by Nanjing in 2005; then moved to SAIC in 2009.
What does an MG car look like?
If that timeline made you dizzy, there is no need to worry. There will be a separate article to cover it more appropriately soon. For now, the interesting part is that the MG marque managed to survive that turmoil. MG Cars built a quite strong reputation in the 1960s because of roadsters such as the MGB, then went on to use its name on performance versions of Rover cars – think of it as a British version of Cupra or AMG.
In the 1980s, the Maestro and Metro received versions with stronger engines, reworked design, and even a turbocharger. MG even built a homologation special in 1984: the Metro 6R4 had extensive changes and the focus on competing in the Group B rally category. At some point, the automaker was doing well even with roadsters: the RV8 was a successful reincarnation of the MGB and led to the creation of the MG F.
Does MG still make cars?
Sadly, not all of us can make a living of our passion. MG’s parent company had too many brands under its portfolio, so keeping all of them up-to-date and competitive was a challenge. Besides, most cars suffered from low reliability, an issue that still harms the reputation of British cars. Last, but not least, those brands were only truly strong in Europe, which limited its sales potential. That helps explain its downward spiral.
After so many attempts, SAIC’s takeover finally brought some stability. It focused on generalist cars, like the MG 3 and 5, to try and give it steady sales again. Fortunately, the strategy worked: the new MG Motor reached high volumes through the 2010s even after going back to its home town. Now that the division is getting back on its feet, it could finally loosen the purse strings. And that leads us to its latest ventures.
Where are MG cars made?
Actual manufacturing takes place in China, India and Thailand; the London office takes care of design and research & development. Nowadays, the company offers a sizable lineup made of hatchback, sedans and, of course, SUVs – the MG ZS is its best-seller in international markets. Just like so many others, the maker is doing its best to quickly embrace electrification because it has become the latest trend in the market.
At first, MG Cars started by electrifying its SUVs. The compact ZS received a fully electric version while the midsize HS got a plug-in hybrid option. More recently, the MG5 station wagon became only electric and the MG4 appeared as such from the beginning. The automaker is yet to standardize the new powertrain across everywhere it operates, but that is already a great start. And now, things will become even better.
What is the MG Cyberster?
An electric roadster which will be offered in China and Europe. While that sleek and opulent design came directly from the namesake 2021 concept, it is definitely a spiritual successor to the MG cars of yore. The specialized press has discovered that it will be about the size of a BMW Z4, albeit less powerful. However, being fully electric may make it agile enough to compete with that car and even the Mercedes-AMG SL.
But let us take one step at a time. First, the roadster traits are all there. Short body, large wheels, long and wide hood, and tiny rear. We can even find the seats just ahead of the rear axle as they should. The arrow-shaped taillights will probably get mixed feedback, but the overall result is fantastic. We can also observe red internal upholstery, a power-folding soft top, and impressive scissor doors taken from the concept.
Is the Cyberster an electric supercar?
No, but that is actually a good thing. The maker wants to strengthen its presence where it already works and, if possible, extend it to other regions. Supercars are beautiful and glamorous, but they obviously do not sell in huge volumes. Besides, they have never been MG’s strong suit. The British company was known for compact roadsters that excelled at design and at mid-speed handling, rather than brash acceleration.
On the other hand, we know that a small roadster with electric powertrain is not going to be cheap either. Think of it as a halo car: the MG Cyberster is designed to connect with the brand’s core values and remind people that they are still alive. It is the type of car that makes you click on a news article, watch a TV ad, or effectively step inside its dealership. Even if you know you will have to leave it driving yet another SUV.
Why is the Cyberster important?
For MG Cars, it is important to make its image stronger. Although the company was once relevant, that all happened decades ago. It spent several years dormant and has been operating in few selected regions so far. Besides, it still has to shake off the reputation of low reliability. The MG Cyberster is an opportunity for the company to honor the good parts of its history while showing people it has worked on the bad ones.
Parallel to that, this is the type of product that makes a company stand out. Hatchbacks, SUVs, and pickup trucks are so numerous around the world that it is difficult to distinguish one. Not long ago, the Borgward brand was revived in a similar way aiming at the luxury market. However, it built such nondescript models that it failed to attract attention or sales. The MG Cyberster has huge potential to attract the spotlights.
MG Cars is going to release its brand new Cyberster in the next few months. Its combination of attractive design, electric powertrain, and vigorous acceleration has everything to be a beautiful reinterpretation of the sportiness that made the company famous decades ago. Besides that, it contributes to the survival of cars that actually have emotional appeal. If it was sold in your country, would you consider buying one?