At the 2010 Beijing Auto Show GAC, or Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd., unveiled its new symbol as well as the first vehicle to be mass produced under its own brand name.
The new emblem, seen in the background of our picture, is derived from the first letter of the company’s acronym, "G." For GAC, this marks the beginning of a new stage of corporate growth.
While GAC was ranked the sixth largest automaker in 2009 by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, it sold none under its own brand. Its 2009 sales, totaled 606,600, was realized through partnership with other manufacturers, mainly Toyota and Honda. Many view GAC more as a local sales assistant to foreign companies than a proper, home-grown automaker. And this is the impression GAC wants to change with the introduction of the new logo and the "Trumpchi."
The "Trumpchi," or Chuanqi in Chinese, is designed to be a sedan in the mid-scale and up-scale range, and the first vehicle to bear GAC’s own logo. The pre-production model on show is powered by a 2.0 liter, direct injection inline four-cylinder, matched by a 5 speed automatic transmission. The engine can put out over 60 kW and 100 Nm. It will come to the showrooms as early as September 2010.
Unlike many other native sedan brands that heavily rely on entry-level, cheap models to compete with foreign names, GAC seems to choose a different route, endeavoring to build an upscale, high-quality image from the beginning. Only time can tell if it works.
On the same stage a concept, hybrid version of the Trumpchi is on display, the "X-Power." The plug-in hybrid four-wheel drive features a dual-motor rear differential.
In recent months, GAC has engaged in a series of major restructuring moves. It acquired a controlling stake in Changfeng Motors and Gonow Auto, began to build its joint venture factory with Fiat, and is getting ready to launch its auto finance branch. It is easy to see a connection between these moves and GAC’s recent application for Hong Kong listing, although the latest news is that the application is in peril. According to various sources, GAC’s major partners, including Toyota and Honda, do not support its effort to go public.