China's GAC shows electric car, plug-in hybrid concept, crossover at Detroit Auto Show


Trumpchi EnSpirit concept, 2017 Detroit auto show

Trumpchi EnSpirit concept, 2017 Detroit auto show

Enlarge Photo

China is now the world's largest new-car market, but no native Chinese manufacturers sell passenger cars in the U.S.

At least one of those manufacturers is at least considering having a go at the U.S. market.

GAC appeared this week at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show with three vehicles, including an electric car and a concept plug-in hybrid.

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The automaker also appeared at the Detroit show in 2013, but this was the first year it—or any other Chinese automaker—has had a booth on the main floor of Detroit's Cobo Center.

All three models displayed by GAC at the Detroit show wore badges for the company's Trumpchi brand.

That is GAC's main brand for passenger cars, although it also sells vehicles under the Gonow brand.

Trumpchi GE3, 2017 Detroit auto show

Trumpchi GE3, 2017 Detroit auto show

Enlarge Photo

The electric car shown in Detroit was a compact hatchback dubbed the GE3, based on a new platform the company designed specifically for electric cars.

Its 47-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack allows for a claimed range of 190 miles, although that is likely measured on the Chinese testing cycle.

A single electric motor produces 120 kilowatts (160 horsepower) and 214 pound-feet of torque.

ALSO SEE: 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid: two different battery packs, 'best-in-class' fuel economy claimed

That takes the GE3 from 0 to 62 mph in 9.3 seconds, GAC says, and to a top speed of 104 mph.

The second green vehicle on display was the EnSpirit plug-in hybrid, which was called a concept car by GAC.

The EnSpirit seems to follow the current trend of "crossover coupes" started by German luxury automakers, sporting the tall body of an SUV, but with a low, coupe-like roofline.

Trumpchi EnSpirit concept, 2017 Detroit auto show

Trumpchi EnSpirit concept, 2017 Detroit auto show

Enlarge Photo

Its powertrain consists of a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine, and a single electric motor.

GAC quoted an electric-only range of 50 miles, again likely based on the Chinese testing cycle.

In addition to the GE3 and EnSpirit concept, GAC displayed the GS7 small SUV.

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GAC said it hoped to start U.S. sales in 2018, but did not offer details on which models would be sold here, or discuss pricing.

That target gives the company remarkably little time to get its cars emissions-certified and to undergo crash tests, as well as to establish a network of dealers.

But it falls in line with previous pledges by various Chinese companies to launch vehicles in the U.S. market, none of which have transpired so far.

Trumpchi GS7, 2017 Detroit auto show

Trumpchi GS7, 2017 Detroit auto show

Enlarge Photo

GAC already operates in 14 countries, and in 2016 recorded sales of 370,000 vehicles—making it a very small player globally.

Like most Chinese automakers, GAC has established joint ventures with Western firms in its home country, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, and Toyota.

Joint ventures are usually mandatory for foreign automakers wishing to build cars in China.

For more coverage of all the news and debuts, head over to our Detroit Auto Show news page.

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