Being one the most appreciated car brands in history MG has the largest owners group in the world. “What is it that even today thousands of MG owners passionately spend their free time and money on restoring and driving these classic cars? And what can we learn and use for todays and the future of the MG brand in order to gain the same popularity?” This was what MA student at the Royal College of Art Arash Shahbaz was wondering.
After being awarded “best of best” and “best performance” for his Roewe Oasis concept Arash got invited for a summer internship at SAIC design studio in Shanghai. Sharing his thoughts and ideas on revamping the MG brand by reclaiming the British roadster during the internship resulted in a sponsorship by SAIC Motors for his RCA graduation project.
Since the renewal of the MG brand Arash noted a disconnect between the brands heritage and todays product line. The origin of the brand, that later inspired many car manufacturers, somehow lost sight of the core promise. And it is exactly that element that makes thousands of car enthusiasts still appreciate the classic MG’s today. The new line up has a different brand perception and offers a customer expectations and experience that doesn’t align with the origin of the brand and the cars they are reckoned for. So the focus in this project was to capture the essence of the original brand and translate these values to a near future concept that is simple, honest and true to the brand.
The MG brand has a very rich heritage that is a great source of inspiration. Vintage adverts played a big role in discovering the true spirit of the brand. One particular advert truly represented MG’s core promise: Sun.Wind.Action. These three words evolved to be the tagline of the project.
During his research Arash found out about the massive British motoring culture. “You can almost call it a tradition for many Brits tot take their daily drives out on the track during the weekends. The sportive heritage of the brand and the British culture is something that has to be celebrated.” Arash says. Going to the track in the weekends everyone could descry being a world speed record winner and racing driver. Owning a MG was owning a little piece of British history being written in that moment, such as the world land speed record. Buying a MG made you able to own a winner and made you feel like a hero too. A promise that appealed to a lot of people who normally couldn’t afford an exclusive sports car.
Combining his findings with today’s current social and commercial environment the project had to blend the for decades highly appreciated motoring history with today’s energy requirements to become successful. Together these values shaped the concept into a characterful small electric car that would compete between a MX5 and Z4 in the commercial environment, size and price.
A lot of effort has gone into creating the right proportions, volumes and stance that would be recognisable as a MG. The overall design contains many recognisable details of the most relevant classic MG’s, which are translated to today’s modern world. Details such as the straps are designed to metaphorically reconnect the user and the car. “In today’s volatile and virtual world we are mainly interacting with keyboards and touchscreens. This detachment from understanding real processes is something I wanted to solve by creating new rituals that require manual engagement from the user.”
Releasing the straps to access the front luggage area brings back the tactile interaction and demands the owner to slow down and do things with a certain attention. Car enthusiasts often claim that we more and more loose the true experience of driving. With electric cars this is even more. As a designer I am exploring new ways to create emotional bonds between the driver and the car.
The New MG reclaims the original core promise of the brand in order to bring back the right brand perception and customer expectations. The New MG is celebrating its brand heritage, but also fits into our current social and commercial environment. The New MG is simple, honest and true to the brand. The New MG is Sun.Wind.Action.