China's GAC Group Displays Three Cars at 2013 Detroit Auto Show | Edmunds

China's GAC Group Displays Three Cars at 2013 Detroit Auto Show

2013 Detroit Auto Show

2013 Detroit Auto Show

Just the Facts:
  • Only one Chinese automaker showed up at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, the Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd., or GAC Group.
  • GAC brought three cars to the show: a 4WD hybrid sedan, an all-electric compact SUV and a stylish extended-range electric concept.
  • GAC announced that it has signed a new agreement to expand Fiat's manufacturing capacity in China and initiate Jeep production in that country.

DETROIT — The only Chinese automaker with a display at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show is Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd., or GAC Group. In the past there have been as many as five Chinese manufacturers at the show.

GAC brought three cars to Detroit: one concept and two production models. The Trumpchi Hybrid sedan is, according to GAC, the first 4WD hybrid to be mass-produced in China. It features a 1.8-liter, 142-horsepower gasoline engine, combined with an electric motor that powers the rear wheels. GAC claims a 30 percent increase in fuel economy over the standard Trumpchi sedan.

The all-electric Trumpchi GS5 BEV, a version of the GS5 compact SUV already being sold in China, features a 35-kW lithium-ion battery pack, which drives a motor with a peak rating of 200 hp and a continuous rating of 67 hp. GAC says to expect a range of 100 miles at a continuous 62 mph, although the vehicle has not been through the EPA test cycle. According to the company, an onboard 18-kW charger is able to bring the batteries to full charge in as little as two hours.

The most striking car on the GAC display is the compact E-Jet concept. This sleek, extended-range electric uses a 1.0-liter, four-cylinder gas engine to charge a 13-kW lithium-ion battery pack, which in turn drives an electric motor. GAC says the car can travel up to 62 miles in pure-electric mode, with the gas engine stretching that to around 372 miles.

GAC set up its display in the lobby of Cobo Center, because, according to its vice president, Huang Xiangdong, the company underestimated the difficulty of getting space in the main exhibition area. But, as he explained, the location in the main hallway makes the cars even more visible.

Based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, GAC hopes to use the Detroit auto show to gauge American reaction to its vehicles and determine whether they can compete in the North American market. Although it does not currently sell cars here, the company produced about 720,000 vehicles last year, making it the sixth-largest automaker in China.

In addition to displaying its vehicles, GAC Group announced it has signed a new agreement with Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. and Chrysler Group to expand their cooperation on passenger car sales and manufacturing in China.

The agreement, signed at Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, paves the way for more Fiat models to be manufactured in China, in addition to the Dodge Dart-based Fiat Viaggio already built there. Chrysler currently imports U.S.-made Jeeps into China, but in the future will produce several models there in partnership with GAC for the Chinese market only.

Edmunds says: GAC displayed some attractive cars with competitive features and performance figures, but it's curious that no other Chinese companies came to Detroit this year.

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