Aion S electric hatchback goes on sale in May

Aion S electric hatchback goes on sale in May

Guangzhou Auto is enduring a tough 2019. While its JVs with Honda, Toyota, FCA and Mitsubishi are strong, the performance of the GAC Trumpchi brand isn't what it could be. Not that that has deterred the company from investing in future models.

GAC Trumpchi's wholesale deliveries in the Chinese market plunged by 37.7% to 34,010 units in March. That placed the brand in eighteenth position which was below Wuling (41,108) and above Roewe (32,843). The plunge was more precipitous when looked at as a quarterly number, volume falling by 40.7% to 88,868 compared to 149,979 vehicles for Q1, 2018. A year ago, GAC Trumpchi was above Wuling, Chery, Roewe and BAIC. No more. What went wrong? In short, intense competition.

As certain brands, including Nissan and Haval have made big gains, such as Wuling (-31% in Q1) and Baojun (-40%) have found the going far more challenging. Not even Volkswagen (717,073, -10.6%) was immune from a setback in Q1 and the same applies to Geely, which fell to fourth place in the first quarter (337,659, -8.1%). By contrast, Toyota in third (340,763, +14.4) and Honda in second position (357,697, +11.2%) made gains. What GAC has in common with all of these manufacturers is that it is redoubling efforts to bring additional vehicles to market as soon as it can.

SUVs

The GS3, a 4,350mm long SUV has been available in China since August 2017, so it should have a mid-life update during the first or second quarters of 2021 and then be replaced in 2024.

A prototype of the GS4, a small SUV, had its world premiere at the Detroit auto show in January 2015. The GS4 entered production two months later. It is powered by the choice of turbocharged 1.3 or 1.5-litre petrol engines. Its world premiere in production form was at the Shanghai motor show in April 2015. The GS4 introduced what GAC terms its 'A-segment platform'.

This model was the first vehicle for Guangzhou Auto's Xingjiang Uygur plant. It was opened in February 2018 with an initial annual capacity of 50,000 vehicles. The Guangzhou iX4 which is sold in China by Toyota dealers is based on this vehicle.

A larger model is the second generation GS5. Even though the brand is not available in Europe, this SUV's world debut was at the Paris motor show last October. The GAC brand will eventually be launched in certain European countries, the company's executives have said on numerous occasions.

The GS5 is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, while a six-speed automatic transmission is supplied by Aisin. This C segment SUV went on sale in China a few weeks after its premiere in the French capital.

The 4.7m long GS7 is closely related to the larger Trumpchi GS8 but has five rather than seven seats. It had its world debut as a prototype at the Detroit auto show in January 2017 and was in Chinese dealerships in September of that year. GAC announced at the show that the GS8 and GS7 are based upon what it terms its G-CPMA platform. Expect a facelift in 2021 with the replacement coming in early 2024.

The GS8 is the largest GAC Trumpchi SUV. A 4.8m long seven-seater, it has been available in China since October 2016. The standard engine is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo.

This large SUV would be on sale in the USA in late 2019, GAC told the media at the 2018 Detroit auto show, an event at which it displayed the model. Company executives also stated that an alternative to the Trumpchi ('legend' and 'good fortune') brand name was being looked into for the US market. The latest thinking is that it will simply be GAC.

At the Paris motor show in October 2018, reporters pressed GAC president Yu Jun on the firm's plans for the US market. He stated that due to the issue of import duties potentially being 25 per cent rather than the former 2.5 per cent, plans to launch the GS8 might be delayed until the first half of 2020 as GAC reconsidered its approach to the market.

Electric

The GE3 was the first fully electric model for the GAC Trumpchi brand. It has been on sale in China since mid-2017, is due for a facelift in early 2021 and should have a successor in 2024. This vehicle may be part of the brand's launch range in the US market. A prototype exhibited at the 2017 NAIAS had the word Trumpchi missing from its tailgate. On China's model, that brand name is below the logo.

GAC NE is the so-called New Energy division of Guangzhou Auto. At the moment there is just the one model but a second was announced only a few days ago.

The Aion S is an electric five-door hatchback in the style of the Tesla Model 3. It goes on sale in China during May and should be in production for seven years with a facelift in 2022. Its world debut in prototype form was at the Guangzhou motor show last November. The car has an NEDC range of 510km (317 miles) and is built on a bespoke architecture for electric vehicles.

GAC NE claims this to be the first vehicle for a new generation of CATL lithium-ion cells, the power density of which is stated as being 170Wh/kg. The electric axle, meanwhile, is supplied by Nidec. This combines the inverter, gearbox and motor into one 87kg module.

The Aion LX will be the second model from GAC's electric vehicle division. Its premiere took place earlier this month at the Shanghai motor show. The NEDC range is 600km (373 miles). Production is due to commence in September and the life cycle should extend into 2026. This will be at the division's Smart Eco-Plant which was completed last December. It has annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles.

Reports for many other manufacturers' future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE. That includes GAC models which are not in the above feature, such as the GM6 and GM8 minivans/MPVs, as well as three cars: the GA4, GA6 and GA8.

The next OEM to be featured in the future vehicles series will be Chery Auto and specifically, passenger vehicles from its Chery, Cowin, Exeed, Karry and Jetour brands.

Expert analysis

just-auto PLDB - vehicle cycle plan database (annual subscription)

just-auto PLDB - vehicle cycle plan database (annual subscription)

PLDB from just-auto.com is a cost effective, vehicle cycle plan database, showing the production life of all major current and future vehicle models produced (or to be produced) globally by all brands...read more

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