If the world’s automakers aren’t careful, China could become as large a player as Toyota by unfilled electric car market.
Though we Americans cannot be expected to learn how to pronounce the Guangzhou Automotive Company’s name as easily we’ve learned latin-based names like Alfa Romeo, we should be able to get the abbreviation "GAC" down fairly easily. That wasn’t a requirement before, but now that GAC is slated to become the first Chinese automaker to breach our borders and make its way to American dealerships, the language lessons may have to begin.
According to The Washington Post, GAC debuted two vehicles at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show that could make it to America by the end of 2019. The first is the Enverge SUV, a concept vehicle that showcases just what a Chinese SUV tailored to the American market could look like. Given that China is currently the leader in electric vehicle technology, it’s little surprise that the GAC Enverge is an electric vehicle that can milk 370 miles per charge out of its batteries. Along with the SUV, GAC brought the GA4 to Detroit as well, a sedan that’s being released in China later this month. The GA4 was just a preview, however, because GAC will debut the GA8 as its first sedan for America.
The Chinese automaker has been slowly making inroads in the US and is already in the process of dispersing itself using a research center based in Silicon Valley, another planned in Detroit, a Los Angeles-based design center in the works, and a partnership with Fiat Chrysler. One major hurdle GAC will have to conquer is building a distribution network. In order to quickly inject its vehicles into America, it could lean on FCA for help with that. GAC’s US expansion coincides with rapid growth it has experienced in China. Last year it sold half a million vehicles in the mainland, a 37% increase over the year prior. The race against time is on.
Now that Chinese automakers, which have a fairly good grasp of EV technology, are gearing up for a US invasion, it’s up to Elon Musk to hurry up and deliver as many Model 3s as possible before GAC comes in and sweeps the market.