• As for Chinese automobiles: a little GAC can go a long way


    This is a prototype of the GAC Trumpchi 4X4.
    This is a prototype of the GAC Trumpchi 4X4.

    GAC, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, is one of the top 10 automakers in China. GAC has (or has had) automotive partnerships with Honda, Jeep, Toyota, Mitsubishi and FIAT to name a few. GAC has a small display at the 2013 NAIAS with a few, modern-looking automobiles on display. “GAC” may be a silly acronym to English-speakers, but this company is very serious about building high end products.

    In 2011, GAC sold over 740,000 vehicles. 

    GAC NAIAS2013 v10 front A1

    Roman, Andre and I wondered why GAC was at the 2013 NAIAS… well, actually, we were rather amused by the name before we began to wonder why GAC was here. According to GAC – “By participating in Detroit Auto Show, GAC Group is to introduce to the public its technology and achievements in the NEV area; to better understand north American automotive industry and market trend, so as to improve its capability in R&D, production and service.

    GAC Group has initiated the market development to the market of South America, Southeast Asia and Middle East in 2013. Market investigation on North America market and European market is ongoing at the same time. In domestic market, according to the principle of “independent development combining with cooperation”, GAC has recently set up two JVs, GAC-Fiat and GAC-Mitsubishi, that have started the full operation and production.”

    So, no plans for any of their production vehicles coming here – yet.

    Their message seems to be, We are observing the U.S. automotive industry to improve ours. Considering their ability to build nearly a million cars in a year, I think there’s more to it. It’s entirely possible that GAC is looking for interested business partners and venture capitalists to help find a foothold in our market.

    That’s okay with me. I think competition is a good thing for the consumer and I kind of like some of GAC’s offerings.

    This is the regular Trumpchi sedan from GAC. The 4X4 hybrid is the first image on this page.
    This is the regular Trumpchi sedan from GAC. The 4X4 hybrid is the first image on this page.

    One of their vehicles, the Trumpchi Sedan, has a new 4X4 hybrid setup and it’s pretty interesting to behold. The Trumpchi (yes – like Trump and Chi… no – the Don has nothing to do with this car) is a popular sedan sold by GAC and this 4X4 hybrid version will be one of the first sold in China in the first quarter of 2013.

    It has a 142 horsepower, 1.8-liter engine and, like Honda, a small motor/starter/generator sandwiched between the gas engine and transmission. An electric motor will power the rear axle AND provide forward driving force between gear changes. Yep, it doles out power to the axle between shifts giving the GAC Trumpchi 4X4 seamless shifts.

    I believe the Alfa Romeo 166’s platform was used to underpin the Trumpchi, and that’s a good thing. This could be a very interesting car to drive and I’m looking forward to it.

    I will bring you updates about GAC and the Chinese auto industry as I get them.

    Speaking of electric power, check out this video of the new Tesla from the floor of the 2013 NAIAS!

    Interesting – no?

    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum.  His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

     

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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    3 thoughts on “As for Chinese automobiles: a little GAC can go a long way

    1. With a name like GAC [referencing the Amur’i’can street-drug vernacular ‘”Gak”] – do you think they’ll change the brand name? Another vehicle that might be construed as snorting or smoking up the white lines…like the DeLorean…might hurt product launch, especially if it’s marketed to the younger/economically challenged demographic. In China, marketing is important when presenting to former Red Star brand tractor drivers…but not like it is in the USA, ‘fer sure.

      Think back to Daihatsu ,too – everyone thought they were Korean…with associated early Pony/Excel reliability issues…yet the reality was they were better built than most Toyota’s/Subaru’s at the time.

      America needs more small cars, especially small, monster-torque spewing clean diesel trucks, and it seems the Chinese can fulfill this market segment. I await…with baited breath!

    2. Thanks for writing this because I had no idea who they were. I saw their sign outside of the main hall and just assumed they were selling electric cars or something.

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