Qoros Automotive , a 50-50 joint venture between state-held Chery Auto and Israel Corporation, has been officially launched at Shanghai’s former Expo zone. This new firm, which has evolved out of the four-year old Chery Quantum Auto Company, intends to launch its first cars in China and Europe in 2013.

According to Volker Steinwascher, a former Volkswagen AG executive who came out of retirement to become vice chairman of Qoros, Chery is a financial investor only. This leaves the Wuhu-based manufacturer free to develop its own models and keep the brand separate, he claims.

The first vehicle to be launched by Qoros is to be a small sedan for both China and Europe, with a hatchback, an SUV and an EV to follow, the company claims. As for the name of the firm itself, “[it is a] new word meant to represent a company that stands for quality and works together like a chorus,” the companies said in a statement.

Qoros has no plans for the US market, where prices are “extremely competitive” and product liability issues remain a big concern, Steinwascher says.

The new firm says it will collaborate with Magna Steyr , TRW , Bosch and Valeo amongst other partner firms to bring the first cars to production. Further, a production plant with an annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles is to be erected in the city of Changsha. Production could eventually reach 300,000/annum, the company adds.

Israel Corp, Israel’s largest holding company, has its main interests in chemicals, shipping and energy.

Author: Glenn Brooks