The Chinese manufacturer, GAC Motors, a subsidiary of the Guangzhou Automobile Group has announced that it will set up its North American headquarters in Irvine, California. The company already has a design centre and other facilities near Detroit. The new headquarters will provide all the normal business services needed by a company opening in a new market.
The company already operates in sixteen countries although the US has been late on the list despite being a huge possible market. The plan was to open the new offices by the end of this year, however that is dependent on the overall trade relationship between China and the Trump Administration. If things go south then the opening date will move back a year or so until things settle down.
At the recent Detroit Auto Show, the company started the launch of several models to gain media traction in readiness for when the vehicles are imported. Apparently they will be sold under the GAC branding because the China brand is “Trumpchi” and that is highly likely to be a disaster in the US!
The next step is to meet with the National Automotive Dealer Association to discuss how they can set up a retail dealer network across the country. This will really be where their rubber hits the road – if the current Administration continues to attack Chinese products then by the time the vehicles arrive, people might not want them. However, price is always a good sales tool! With General Motors and Ford abandoning passenger vehicles, GAC will be scrapping with their (mainly) Japanese competitors for that market however they know that US buyers love large SUVs and so they have one of those too.
Not much was announced at the Auto Show, so we will need to hold tight until they know what they are doing.
Images owned by GAC Motors.