How Chinese Carmaker GAC Motor Plans to Enter U.S. Market in 2019
Chinese products carry negative connotations in the western world, but that’s not stopping GAC Motor.
Chinese car companies are beginning to spread their roots across their own borders. Two months ago, we learned that China's GAC Motor, known to its home market as Trumpchi, is planning to be the first Chinese carmaker to enter the U.S. car market, with its target set on late 2019. Aside from the projected entry window of the fourth quarter of next year, little is known about the company's plans to establish itself stateside, so The Drive interviewed a GAC Motor spokesperson for more info on its launch strategy after this year's NAIAS in Detroit.
Of high priority to a company that is known by names like Trumpchi, GAC Motor is an English-friendly rebranding. The company spokesperson confirmed that development of a new name is underway, and that GAC will leverage its J.D. Power ratings (described by GAC as the best of its Chinese peers) to sway consumers wary of Chinese products, stating it is "confident" in the face of stigma attached to Chinese industry.
Dealership and service network planning is being accomplished partially through surveys, though GAC will be present at the National Automobile Dealers Association expo in Las Vegas come March, presumably to find partners willing to adopt a Chinese brand into its network.
"Working with dealers would be a main direction," the GAC spokesperson told The Drive about sales channels.
So, what vehicles would GAC use to pique an American's interest in the brand? Only the midsize GS8 SUV, likely meant to capitalize on the American market's insatiable lust for crossovers, has been confirmed, with a base MSRP in its home market of ¥163,800 (Chinese Yuan) according to Car Sales Base, just shy of $25,600 at current exchange rates, prior to tariffs that could affect the GS8's sale price stateside. As for vehicles beyond the GS8, no plans are concrete, with the only promise made being that of an intent to follow market trends.
Which market segment GAC intends to occupy is not yet clear, but the estimated price race and advertising material for the GS8 available online suggest entry-level executive vehicles will be GAC's forte.
"We are still at the planning phase," the GAC spokesperson said. "We know products with high quality are the foundation to gain the trust of American market. Based on that, we aim to provide premium vehicles at a reasonable price."
"Like our GS8, along with other models at 2018 NAIAS, we have received many positive comments on the design and interior space. The Enverge is also a great demonstration of our vision and technology. We think this is a good start, and we certainly appreciate it."