Will Astor’s entry into the compact SUV space throw a challenge to well-poised Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos? Fresh into the market, Volkswagen Taigun and Skoda Kushaq will also fight tooth and nail to establish their niche.
Amidst this raging war, Astor armour, according to the SAIC-backed company, is a Car-as-a-Platform (CAAP) subscription model for Astor, which highlights on-demand in-car services and subscriptions in the areas of utility, entertainment, security, consumer payment, to begin with.
MG’s IoT partner Jio enables in-car connectivity, allowing access to real-time connectivity, infotainment, telematics, and music streaming service. Customers will get a free 4GB monthly internet pack in the SUV, which can be further customized up to 9 GB and 14 GB at an additional cost.
08:13MG Astor | Autonomous level-2 features
The Halol-based company’s first and most popular product Hector took the market by storm, especially thanks to features bundled in the ‘Internet Inside’ package. Astor, on the other hand, is poised to lift the bar with ‘AI Inside’ — functionality that is so far unheard of in the segment. MG Motor expects to deliver 5,000 units of Astor by the 2021-end.
Furthermore, MG’s CAAP subscription model includes the service of booking and pre-paying for parking slots via Park+ in three cities (NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore) and will expand to nine cities in near future. The first three months of the service is complimentary, followed by additional six months for Rs 1,199.
Another arm of MG’s evolving i-Smart hub is a vehicle digital passport — powered by blockchain-secured KoineArth. This facilitates customers sharing their digital passports with third parties like insurance partners or used car portals, and thereby helping get higher resale value or a better insurance premium based on their driving behaviour and service adherence. This digital passport can be availed for Rs 1,000 for the first year.
Rajeev Chaba, President and MD, MG Motor India, said, “We announced the CAAP vision in August and now we are incorporating the subscription-based model in Astor. Our constant endeavour is to evolve CAAP for providing innovative services in line with fast-changing requirements of new-age consumers by collaborating with more ecosystem partners.”
MG Astor was launched in four trim lines. The 1.5-litre VTi-Tech petrol is priced between Rs 9.78 lakh and Rs 14.98 lakh (ex-showroom). The more powerful 1.3-litre turbo-petrol with 6-AT only ranges between Rs 15.88 lakh and Rs 16.78 lakh (ex-showroom). The latter also brings in level-2 autonomous driving features.