How Jeremy Clarkson Pissed Off Both The Chinese And The British

Top Gear host and columnist Jeremy Clarkson is well-known for his clever and acerbic prose. He also has a penchant for pissing people off. The latest group who have taken offense to his words are from the Chinese-British mishmash that is the modern MG.

This time, it's not some ethnically-charged remark that has gotten into trouble. He just wrote a scathing review of their MG6 sedan. See, Clarkson wrote up an account of his late May drive in the MG6 Magnette Diesel in the Sunday Times, and he said "this car is not bad at all. It’s hysterically terrible."

You can probably see where the rest of it is going. Giving the car just one star out of five, Jezza knocked the car's overall cheap feel, disparaged its poor safety rating, said it has "the headroom of a coffin," said the steering is garbage, and also claimed it failed to restart after a stop.

Basically, it has all the quality one would expect from a car jointly developed by the British and the Chinese, according to Clarkson. And he said that while the car is assembled and engineered by Brits, "it’s as Chinese as a chopstick," but not in a way that would put it on par with Asian rivals like Toyota or Kia.

MG was not happy about any of this, and they posted a rebuttal on China Car Times defending the hapless car. They say that it has a stop-start system to save fuel, does indeed have a good safety record, and is a good value overall.

They're especially miffed at the "chopsticks" remark, and claim the car is very much a British product (so why is the response on China Car Times?):

The styling of the car was led by talented British Design Director Tony Williams- Kenny, educated at none other than Coventry University, England and the engineering team lead by fellow Brit Dave Lindley. It has taken years of hard work to secure over £500m of long term inward investment into the UK and the creation of 400 jobs (on a site where we all know back in 2005 there were suddenly none) in the Birmingham design, engineering and assembly facility. This new investment in automotive design, engineering and assembly at this point in the economy is something Britain should celebrate. So why does the Sunday Times promote trying to undermine this?

So now we have a war of words between Clarkson and the folks at MG. They invited the public to try it for themselves, saying "We are pretty sure they will be positively surprised."

As in, good surprised or bad surprised?

Photo credit AP/MG

Hat tip to Autoblog!