MG 3

90 years of MG but where’s the PR strategy for new models?

One of Britain’s best loved sports car marques celebrates its 90th anniversary this year but in spite of returning from the abyss in 2006 the future does not seem particularly rosy for MG.

Since making a return to the UK’s dealer forecourts, MG has not so much made a splash with the car buying public as an insignificant dribble. The company sold just 782 cars in 2012, dropping to 504 in 2013, despite the launch of a new model, the MG3, in the latter half of the year. Compare this to Ford, which sold a staggering 121,929 Fiestas during 2013.

So why is this? Read any of the reviews in the motoring press and they’re not too bad, with nothing of note to really put off potential buyers. The models are a little bit old-fashioned perhaps and slightly lacking in quality but the negativity stops there.

MG, or more precisely their PR and marketing team, have made a huge mistake in underestimating the changing nature of Britain’s automotive market. The PR strategy, like their models, is just a little old-fashioned. 

In our opinion, MG has made the assumption that their brand name carried more cachet with motorists than it really does. The high point for the company was at least 40 odd years ago and since then has faded in the consciousness of Britain’s drivers who now have a plethora of models and brands to choose from. Most motorists are not enthusiasts, and the few that are aren’t buying the offerings from MG.

What is needed is a total re-launch of the brand, treating it as a brand new marque, to create some excitement and intrigue. Traditional PR routes, a loan car here, a road test there, are simply not enough to make this happen. The whole marketing toolbox, social media, stunts, advertising and PR, combined with imagination and creativity must be raided to get sales moving.

And it’s not simply a case of budget restraints, if that is an issue. There are lots of examples of small brands hitting big with imaginative and exciting campaigns on shoestring budgets, appealing to savvy, younger consumers.

So this is a plea to MG. Please use this special year to kick start the brand’s image and truly bring back one of Britain’s greats.

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