Finding Chinese automotive enthusiasts with money isn’t a problem these days.
What is a challenge, however, is standing out from the rest of the luxury car, sports car, or even supercar herd.
Boutique British manufacturer Morgan thinks it has the answer, and to go forward in China it’s taking a step backward. To be specific, it’s dialing up the way-back-machine to 1952, the last year the company produced a three-wheeler.
Three-wheelers, it thinks, may be just the ticket to success in China. Bloomberg quotes managing director and company namesake Charles Morgan as saying, “Try to sell a Ferrari and you’re up against Lamborghini, the Audi R8, Lotus and McLaren. Send a Morgan three-wheeler there and they’ll know the difference.”
Morgan is referring to his company’s M3W, which debuted at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. The two-seat roadster doesn’t offer luxury amenities like a roof or air conditioning, but its S&S V-twin motorcycle engine can power the M3W to a top speed of 125 miles per hour.
It can run from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, yet still returns fuel economy up to 50 mpg. It’s packed full of nostalgia that only Morgan can deliver, but it comes with a hefty price tag of around $39,000.
That hasn’t stopped potential Chinese dealers from lining up, and Morgan has been approached by 20 different companies looking to sell the M3W (and Morgan automobiles) in China.
The company is proceeding with caution there, and will open dealerships in Beijing and Shanghai in 2012. Morgan M3W models will also be sold in Hong Kong, via a local Harley Davidson dealership.
Globally, Morgan hopes to sell some 1,500 units in the coming year, with 50 percent of sales coming from the M3W. Despite a price tag rivaling entry-level luxury sedans, Morgan is already working to fill some 800 existing orders for it’s retro three-wheeler.
Tradition, it appears, still has a place in the automotive market.