Imported from China: GAC Motor GS8 Test Mule Spied In Minnesota

The Chinese SUV is undergoing winter testing in the Midwest ahead of the company’s U.S. market-debut in Q4 2019.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED May 25, 2019 4:28 AM

Chinese automaker GAC Motor, or "Trumpchi" in its home market, is coming to the United States by the end of next year. In preparation for this, the company is following the standard procedure for launch prep by sending test mules into the most extreme environments its products will have to face in the new market. One such extreme is cold weather, and where better to test a vehicle's winter performance than Minnesota in January?

The Roush Cold Weather Test Facility in Bemidji, MN played host to the GAC Motor GS8 sometime this week, according to a source that wished to remain anonymous. The said source provided a quartet of photos of the vehicle, which appears to be operating without the camouflage customary of most test mules.

"That does look like a GS8," a GAC Motor spokesperson told The Drive when asked for confirmation on the brand's presence at the testing grounds. "Unfortunately, currently I’m unable to confirm it as I have no available information on this."

The presence of the GS8 at this facility serves as proof that the Chinese marque is engaging in live-fire test programs, despite the company's declination to disclose information on the vehicle's testing and evaluation program in The Drive's interview with GAC Motor last week.

Aside from this confirmation, some information on the GS8's potential sale trims in the U.S. can be gleaned. The 19" aluminum wheels are already in use in the markets where the GS8 is available, and the i4WD badge on the back suggests four-wheel drive is on the cards for the U.S. version of the vehicle. While the GAC badge is used on the test mule, the interview confirmed that GAC will devise a new brand name under which the GS8 will be sold, so the badge could change before the vehicle goes on sale in Q4 next year.