April 15, 2013

Do Home-Grown Chinese Automakers Have A Chance In The Luxury Segment?

Qoros 3 Sedan Debuted At 2013 Geneva International Motor Show

Qoros 3

Debuting last month at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show, the Chinese-Israeli auto brand Qoros has hit the ground running in advance of the official rollout of its 3 Sedan. Targeting both Chinese and European drivers, the Qoros 3 is slated to launch in China some time in the second half of the year, with a European launch expected by the end of 2013. The company has indicated that future models will be released at intervals of “approximately six months.” The Qoros 3 will be produced at the new Qoros plant in Changshu, Jiangsu province, with the company using suppliers such as Magna Steyr, TRW, Continental, Bosch, Getrag, Benteler, Lear, Microsoft, Harman, Neusoft-Alpine and Iconmobile.

A joint venture between China’s Chery Automobile and Israel Corporation, Israel’s largest holding company, Qoros is currently wrapping up construction of its factory, which the company says will have an annual production capacity of 150,000 units, with potential for expansion to 450,000. In addition to an engineering center in Shanghai, the company has further operations in Munich, Germany and Graz, Austria.

Qoros 3

Measuring 4.6 meters by 1.8 meters (15′ x 6′), the sedan is somewhat on the large side for a compact, powered by one of two types of four-cylinder 1.6 liter engines, both of which will include VVT (variable valve timing). The standard engine delivers output of 93 kW (126 bhp) and 155 Nm maximum torque, while the turbocharged engine offers 115 kW (156 bhp) and 210 Nm, respectively. Both come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, with an option for a six-speed dual clutch transmission. All model variants come standard with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Along with the Qoros 3, the automaker also showed off a 3 Cross Hybrid Concept in Geneva, featuring a compact hatchback body and hybrid drivetrain, hinting at future hatchback and crossover models. An additional Qoros 3 Estate Concept also took the stage, with an elongated roofline and large tailgate, designed with long-distance road trips in mind and aimed at European consumers in particular.

So what could the future hold for Qoros, in its home market or in Europe? One or two years ago, we might be more cynical about the brand’s prospects in German luxury car-mad China, but if the central government’s current clampdown on official “waste and extravagance” really has teeth this year, Qoros could possibly be in the right place at the right time. But this doesn’t mean the road ahead will be smooth in Qoros’ home market, and the marque will have to go above and beyond to woo the same consumer segments as BMW or Mercedes-Benz. As one recent McKinsey report pointed out, government customers now account for just a tenth of total luxury auto sales in China, with demand from women and younger drivers skyrocketing in recent years. Still, the government demographic is big, and given Qoros’ domestic DNA and relatively understated looks, it’s not completely outlandish to think we could see one or two Qoros 3s speckled in Beijing’s famous black Audi-filled parking lots this time next year.

Qoros 3 interior

Qoros 3 safety features

Overhead view of Qoros 3

All Qoros 3 variants will include an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system

Qoros 3 Cross Hybrid concept

Qoros 3 Estate concept

Auto / Business & Finance / Investment / Lifestyle / Marketing & Branding
Tag: auto, automotive, brand debut, chery... , More
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