MG Motors' electric vehicle sold out before launch, firm halts bookings

MG Motor India president & MD Rajeev Chaba (left) unveiling the company’s electric car model ZS earlier this month. Photo: PTI
MG Motors (Morris Garages) that sells the Hector brand of a premium SUV has received bookings for a little over 2,800 units in 27 days for MG ZS, its electric vehicle model that is set to go on sale from Wednesday.


This number is more than the total number (1,071) of electric cars sold in India in calendar year 2019. MG has stopped registrations for the ZS (expected to sell for Rs 20 lakh) and will cater to 2,409 of the total bookings. The ZS EV will initially launch in the Delhi region, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.


This response to the ZS shows car buyers will pay a premium for an EV as long as it hits the sweet spot of price to value. The trend is prompting automobile makers to introduce models that address issues such as range anxiety and charging, while having the latest features; those in the mass and luxury segment of the passenger vehicle market are also preparing for offerings in the EV space.


The central government’s thrust on EVs is fuelling these plans. It has earmarked Rs 10,000 crore for three years till 2022 for its FAME-II scheme in this regard. Though this is an incentive scheme for only commercial vehicles, its focus on creating an enabling infrastructure has encouraged all. A reduction in the goods and services tax on EVs to 5 per cent, from 12 per cent, has helped.


Last week, luxury car market leader Mercedes-Benz announced its entry here, with the launch of its EQ brand. It plans to launch its first full electric vehicle, the EQC, in April.


"The EQ brand is a key pillar of our 'sustainable luxury' objective and is the first dedicated luxury electric brand in India," Martin Schwenk, chief executive, said at the launch.


In July 2019, Hyundai Motor India launched the Kona electric, a premium electric hatchback priced at Rs 25 lakh.  Since the launch, the company has received bookings for 400 units and dispatched 300, a spokesperson said.


The ZS EV is a “globally-proven” offering that provides customers with the “practicality of an SUV” and “the performance of a sports car,” claimed MG. With a Five Star Euro NCAP rating.


The highest number of bookings for the model came from Bengaluru, followed by Hyderabad.  Close to 40 per cent of the bookings were online. This underscores a significant shift in favour of digital media in consumer behavior within the automotive space, MG said.                


MG Motor India entered the EV space as a catalyst for the country’s nascent EV revolution by providing a complete end-to-end ecosystem,” said Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director at MG Motor India. The initial response shows consumers are ready for the “new-age EV proposition” when provided with a good product and infrastructure, he added.


In a 2020 Deloitte Global Automotive Study, close to 56 per cent of respondents from India cited lower emissions and operating cost as the main reason for preferring hybrid or battery electric vehicles. It also indicated that interest in battery EVs would rise if fossil fuel prices increase in a significant way.  Around 82 per cent of Indian respondents said they'd opt for EVs if petrol exceeded Rs 152 a litre.

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