MG Motors drives in Hector at Rs 12.18 lakh

With such pricing, Hector will compete against Mahindra's XUV 500, Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass, Hyundai's Creta etc

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MG Motors drives in Hector at Rs 12.18 lakh

Notwithstanding the slowdown in the passenger vehicle segment, British carmaker MG Motors on Thursday launched its first car in India – Hector, a premium SUV at an introductory price of Rs 12.18-16.88 lakh.

With such pricing, Hector will compete against Mahindra's XUV 500, Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass, Hyundai's Creta etc.

Hector, a made in India car, will come with 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol and 2-litre diesel engine options. It also has a 48-volt hybrid option in the petrol variant.

MG Motors, owned by China's SAIC, also plans to launch an electric SUV 'EZS' in India later this year, while two more models will be launched next year.

The company has already received 10,000 bookings for the new car since it opened on June 4, and the deliveries will start in July, MG Motor India president and managing director Rajeev Chaba said.

Hector, the internet or connected car, has a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system which can be controlled by touch or voice assist. Developed by Nuance, the AI-powered voice assistant has been designed to understand Indian accents better. Various apps are preloaded such as a TomTom's real-time navigation app, a customised Gaana app for music streaming and an AccuWeather app for the weather forecast.

It also has an onboard connection that can provide wireless internet services to other devices inside the car. It has tied up with Airtel which will provide a SIM card to offer internet connectivity via 5G-ready IPv6 internet protocol. The car will also receive over the air (OTA) updates similar to a smartphone. Hector has about 300 India-specific features to suit customer preferences and road conditions.

MG Motors has already announced an investment of Rs 5,000 crore in four years, out of which Rs 2,200 crore has already been invested in starting operations in India apart from a manufacturing plant at Halol in Gujarat.

The plant has a production capacity of 80,000 units per annum which can be enhanced depending upon the demand.

Hector also comes with 'MG Shield', a package which provides complete assurance to customers regarding maintenance and ownership. Pre-booked orders have been slated from the first week of July through its network of 120 centres across India, which will be expanded to 250 centres by September this year, Chaba said.

The auto market is expected to pick up in October-December period when there would be a lot of deals as manufacturers seek to liquidate BS-IV inventory ahead of the transition to BS-VI in April next year. The company has decided to bring in its EZS SUV even if the infrastructure is not ready. "We cannot wait for the development of infrastructure. We have the product ready, which also helps us in our image of innovation," Chaba said.

The EV will be launched initially in five cities namely Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. MG Motor India will provide home charging kits to customers besides its dealers in those cities having charging stations, he said.

For EVs to pick up in India, the government needs to come up with a proper long-term policy and support structure, unlike the periodic extensions witnessed with FAME I scheme, he said.

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