China's GAC Motor reiterated its goal of getting into the U.S. market by 2019 as it made its fourth North American International Auto Show appearance in Detroit, unveiling a new sedan as well as an electric concept.
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Chinese automakers selling directly here — rather than with such current products under other brands as the Buick Envision SUV — is a question of when, not if. GAC is not the first to vow to do so, though, and details of how it will establish a dealer network and get complex regulatory approvals in time to sell cars next year were not clear.
But though you might never have heard of GAC, its parent company ranks in the top half of the Fortune Global 500. It does have a joint venture in China with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and last year, GAC opened a research and development facility in California. "GAC Motor aspires to take an active part in integrating China into the tide of the global auto industry," said Yu Jun, GAC Motor president, in a statement.
GAC says it already sells cars in 14 countries. And with each year here, the products it has shown have been looking better. In addition to the new cars, the company is displaying a three-row SUV, large luxury sedan and minivan from its current lineup.
Logos in the headlights and taillights read Trumpchi, the brand under which GAC sells cars in China but does not plan to use here. Still, the little Easter eggs in the lighting attracted a lot of photo interest.
The new GA4 sedan unveiled goes on sale in China this week. The electric concept, called Enverge, is a small electric SUV aimed at a young buyer and incorporates such show-car features as virtual reality screens in the side windows, a charging dock, and storage for drones and small Segways on the roof and front lights that detach for portable use.
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