China's Guangzhou still plotting U.S. entry

GAC said last year that it would launch U.S. sales in 2017, but that deadline will not be met. Photo credit: JOHN IRWIN

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., the Chinese automaker that exports vehicles to 14 countries, wants to enter the U.S. “in the near future” — but not just yet.

The state-owned company unveiled a five-seat crossover concept, dubbed the GS7, Monday at the Detroit auto show — its third appearance at the Detroit show and its first time on the main floor.

During a press conference, GAC confirmed plans to open a technical center this year in Silicon Valley.

The company also has tentative plans to enter the U.S. in 2019, but that’s not a firm date, said Zhang Fan, GAC’s vice president of design.

“We take this market very seriously, so we have to be very cautious,” he said. “We have to make sure we are ready.”

GAC’s GE3 electric crossover on display during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday. Photo credit: REUTERS

Either the midsize GS7 or its big brother, the seven-seat GS8, would be good candidates for the U.S., he said.

GAC said last year that it would launch U.S. sales in 2017, but that deadline will not be met.

GAC is building a strong track record in China, where its own brand generated sales of 380,000 vehicles last year. GAC also operates profitable joint ventures with Toyota, Honda and Fiat Chrysler.

In fact, a GAC executive told Reuters in March that the company hoped Chrysler would help it enter the U.S. At the time, FCA declined to comment on the GAC trial balloon.

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