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NEWS

MG Motor launches plug-in hybrid option in Mexico as EV race heats up

By Kylie Madry

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – MG Motor is launching a plug-in hybrid SUV in Mexico, the carmaker said on Thursday, as the market for hybrid and electric vehicles in the Latin American country heats up despite a lack of infrastructure and high costs for locals.

The hybrid eHS model is set to hit Mexico’s streets on Friday, alongside two combustion-engine models, the company said.

A formerly British brand now owned by China’s SAIC Motor Corp, MG Motor opened shop in Mexico in 2020. It said it is looking to claim 5.5% of the country’s market share this year.

It will also launch two more models – including another in its electric and hybrid line – in the country this year, Daniel Nava, vice president of MG Motor in Mexico, said.

Mexico is looking to bump up its EV production even though the cars remain expensive for most Mexicans and impractical to drive in much of the country, according to a Reuters analysis.

Mexico has about 1,100 charging stations nationwide, mostly clustered in large cities, restricting EV use for long-distance drives. However, hybrid models could be a step forward until there is more EV investment, analysts say.

MG Motor’s eHS model will sell in Mexico for 825,000 pesos ($45,610.85) – 36% to 49% more expensive than the price range listed on MG Motor’s Spain website, though less than the model’s expected price in India.

The price in Mexico reflects the car’s plug-in hybrid model, which is more costly than other hybrid models, and is comparable to competitors’ prices, Nava told Reuters ahead of the announcement

Other countries, particularly in Europe, offer incentives for hybrid purchases, he added.

This comes as Mexico, a major carmaking hub, looks to convert half of its auto production to zero-emission vehicles by 2030. In March, it nabbed a $5 billion Tesla plant in the northern state of Nuevo Leon.

($1 = 18.0878 Mexican pesos)

 

(Reporting by Kylie Madry in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Janane Venkatraman)

 

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