MG’s parent company, SAIC, is planning to launch its premium electric car brand IM Motors in the UK, Autocar understands.
IM Motors – founded in late 2020 as a tie-up between SAIC, e-commerce giant the Alibaba Group and R&D specialist the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Group – delivered the first examples of its L7 executive saloon in late 2021.
The L7 packs a 93kWh battery that yields a range of up to 382 miles, and uniquely can be topped up using a wireless inductive charger at rates of up to 11kW.
The brand has since launched the LS6 and LS7 SUVs, which compete with the Tesla Model Y and Model X, respectively. They are priced between £32,000 and £52,000 in their native China.
The EV brand made headlines last year when it inked a technical partnership with Audi, which will see the German brand use its platforms for a range of Chinese-market EVs – as an alternative to the Volkswagen Group’s delayed SSP architecture.
IM Motors already has a small visible presence in the UK, with a car on show in MG’s flagship showroom in Marylebone, London as part of a bid to gauge public perception of the new brand.
It is expected to rival the likes of BYD and Tesla upon arrival in the UK.
IM’s UK launch is likely to come sometime in 2025, after MG refreshes its line-up with the new MG 3 and MG HS, an updated version of the 4 and the second-generation Marvel-R SUV.
It is possible that SAIC would first need to establish its European factory – which may be based in the UK – before it can profitably build the new models for right-hand-drive markets.
It is not yet known whether the new models would retain their IM branding in the UK, or whether they would be badged as MGs. Several models badged as MGs in the UK are actually from alternate SAIC brands: the MG 5 is a Roewe Ei5 in China, and the next-generation MG HS will be a re-styled Roewe RX5.
Australian magazine Wheels previously reported that the IM LS7 and L7 were “under strong consideration” for sale in Australia – another right-hand-drive market – with an MG badge.
A spokesperson for MG UK told Autocar: “IM Motors are currently operating in China selling premium electric vehicles. There has been no confirmation of a UK launch and MG Motor UK cannot comment on the brand at this point.
“SAIC Motors will be providing more information on this in due course.