Chinese IM luxury EVs to debut overseas under MG brand

Max McDee, 23 February 2024

SAIC, one of China's auto giants, is gambling on its Innovation In Motion electric vehicle brand - known as IM - to make a big splash in Europe and South America. But they won't be sailing under the IM banner. Instead, they'll be rebranded as SAIC’s other brand - MG. This strategy hopes to piggyback off the formerly British brand's established recognition.

Initially, it may seem like a sneaky badge-engineering trick, especially with IM Motors having been pitched as a Tesla and Nio rival. However, with a long history and a strong presence in certain markets, the MG badge could work its magic for the IM vehicles.

IM LS7 electric SUV IM LS7 electric SUV

For those unfamiliar, IM Motors is a relatively new player in China's booming EV market. This brand is a collaboration between SAIC, tech giant Alibaba, and the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, all heavy hitters in their respective fields.

IM’s focus is on sleek, tech-laden, luxury-oriented EVs. Think large, powerful sedans like the IM L7 (with up to a 445 kW power output) and stylish SUVs like the IM LS7 or the fastback-shaped LS6. The LS6's specs put the competition on notice: a dual-motor setup pushing out 787 hp, a massive 100 kWh battery, and some seriously fast charging capabilities (allegedly 124 miles of range restored in a mere 5 minutes).

Futuristic interior of the IM LS6 Futuristic interior of the IM LS6

If the IM LS6 is the one to judge the company’s efforts by, then the established automakers should pause for a moment. While the 787 hp powertrain is a headline item, the LS6’s interior is not far behind. Dominated by a massive 26.3-inch screen that serves as both the infotainment system and instrument cluster, it has an optional 15.5-inch display for the passenger and another touchscreen on the center console for good measure. The LS6 comes standard with LiDAR and an Nvidia Orin chip, supporting advanced driver-assist features, and setting it apart from its rivals. What distances it even further from its competitors is the $30,000 price.

SAIC's plan to rebadge its luxury EVs seems calculated. While IM has struggled so far to make its mark in China, MG has managed to carve out a significant niche globally. They've been particularly successful in Europe, thanks to affordable, stylish models like the electric MG4 EV – so far a huge hit.


SAIC's track record of rebadging other models as MGs has had mixed results, but the IM range seems well-suited for the move. They offer more luxury and larger vehicle sizes, which may plug a gap in MG's current lineup. On paper, it looks like a win-win scenario - MG ends up selling upmarket models which it didn’t have until now, and IM enters new markets. But it all boils down to SAIC selling more cars which surely won’t impress European automakers.

The success of this rebranding venture is still hanging in the balance. SAIC is clearly betting big on the MG name to carry the IM models, a move that could either pay off handsomely or see the project flounder in new markets. Success or failure likely depends on how pricing and features stack up against established European and American rivals. And, as always with EVs, infrastructure plays a huge role in consumer confidence.


This article contains localized units and prices. Change settings.
Your choice


Reader comments

    Nothing yet. Be the first to comment.



    Popular models