MG Hector launch: China's largest automaker by volume, SAIC Motor Corp, made its much awaited entry into the Indian market on Thursday with the launch of its mid size SUV Hector at an introductory price of Rs 12.18 - 16.88 lakh. The SUV is badged under the MG Motor brand that traces its origin to the UK but is now a wholly owned subsidiary of SAIC since 2008. The Hector, which the company claims is India's first internet car, has been launched with multiple ownership package that provides private owners free-of-charge 5-year comprehensive manufacturer warranty for unlimited kilometers. It also includes round-the-clock roadside assistance (RSA) for a period of 5 years and no labour charges for the first 5 scheduled vehicle services.
Further offers like prepaid maintenance plans starting at Rs 8,000 for the first three years has also been given. The company claims its total cost of ownership (TCO) is the lowest in the segment starting at Rs 45 paise per kilometer for the petrol and at Rs 49 paise per kilometer for the diesel.
"As MG's first product for the Indian market, the HECTOR comes with 'MG Shield', a first-of-its-kind package in the Indian auto industry which provides complete assurance to our customers, as we continue to remain focused on disruption & differentiation," says Rajeev Chaba, President and Managing Director, MG Motor India. "With the very distinctive design that also packs in safety, best-in-class features and competitive pricing, the MG HECTOR will make an impact with buyers who are looking for something very different from the normal array of cars."
The company claims it has already received more than 10,000 bookings for the car in 23 days since pre-orders began on June 4. Powertrain options include a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol motor that is available with six-speed manual and automatic dual clutch transmission gearboxes and a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel that's mated to a six-speed manual transmission. There's also a 48V hybrid option with the 1.5-litre petrol unit, paired to a six-speed manual. The electric motor comes with engine start/stop function and brake-energy regeneration, and provides an additional boost of 20Nm when required. The petrol/petrol hybrid engine makes 141bhp and 250Nm while the diesel has a power and torque output of 168bhp and 350Nm, respectively.
Overall across the three powertrains, the car is available in 11 variants with five color options. The two petrol manual transmission variants are priced at Rs 12.18 lakh and Rs 12.98 lakh while the petrol engine with hybrid option with manual transmission is offered in three variants priced at Rs 13.58 lakh to Rs 15 88 lakh. There are also two variants with dual clutch automatic transmission option with the petrol engine priced at Rs 15.28 lakh and Rs 16.78 lakh. The four diesel variants offered only in manual transmission is priced at Rs 13.18-16.88 lakh.
The vehicle is already on sale in multiple markets under different brand names - Baojun 530 in China, Chevrolet Captiva in Thailand and South America and Wuling Almaz in Indonesia. In India, it competes with the likes of Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass, Mahindra XUV3OO and Tata Harrier. The feature list for the car is exhaustive. Features like dual front airbags, anti lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake distribution (EBD), reverse parking sensors, electronic stability control (ESC), traction control and hill-hold control is on offer as standard on the car. The top-of-the-line variant gets additional features like a 10.4-inch display for the touchscreen infotainment system, 7.0-inch MID, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated ORVMs, 360-degree view parking system, panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, powered tailgate and six airbags. A host of connected services in a suite called iSMART that makes the car India's first internet car is also a major talking point for the vehicle.
This is SAIC's second stint in India after an ill fated attempt with General Motors when it had acquired a 50 percent stake in the US firm's Indian subsidiary in 2009. Thereafter a slew of products developed by the Chinese joint venture of the two firms like the Enjoy MPV and the SAIL hatchback and sedan were launched in India. The products met with an insipid response in the domestic market and GM eventually bought back bulk of the stake it had sold to SAIC in 2012 only to completely exit the Indian domestic market in 2016. MG's factory in Halol in Gujarat where the Hector is being produced was set up by GM itself in 1996.