Morris Garages, the company known for the Morris Minor, is set to make its comeback in India with the MG Hector. Billed as a “smart” SUV, the production variant of the car was recently spotted by a Team-BHP user in metallic-grey and purple colours.
A brand from the classic era of British automotive, MG is now owned by China-based SAIC motors, which retails the car under the MG Motor marque. The SUV, named after both the Greek legend from the Trojan war as well as the Hawker Hector biplane from the 1930, is based on the Baojun 530. This the same platform which is sold as the second-generation Chevrolet Captiva in Columbia. The Hector stands out from the Baojun with its smart features, Honeycomb grill and twin-pod headlights.
The petrol engine is expected to be a 1.5 litre 48V mild hybrid systems making 143PS and 250Nm. The diesel variant is expected to pack the 2.0 litre FCA Multijet also seen in the Tata Harrier and Jeep Compass, making 173PS and 350Nm.
The Hector is billed as a smart SUV, packing a 5G-Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capable SIM card and “iSMART Next Gen” technology. Owners can control the car’s temperature, sunroof, tailgate and door lock via app. The car also responds to voice commands, with an AI trained to recognize Indian accents, via the command “Ok, Hector”. Like a smartphone, the car can receive Over The Air (OTA) updates, with new looks, apps and content as the company releases. An automatic “E-call” feature sends an SMS with location data to MG’s “pulse hub” in the event of an accident.
In 2017, SAIC Motor Corporation announced plans to invest Rs 2,000 crore in a manufacturing plant in Halol, Gujarat, aiming at 90 percent localisation of components. This is expected to keep the price competitive, in the range of Rs 15-20 lakh.
The car faces the Tata Harrier, Hyundai Tucson and Jeep Compass as its competition in India, within the compact midsize SUV premium segment. With Benedict Cumberbatch as the brand’s ambassador, MG Motors plans to bring the 95-year-old British marque back to prominence. MG’s legacy in India includes around 500 vintage cars spread across the country. For fans of the brand, the Hector will be a much-awaited SUV.