China's Guangzhou Automobile Group Company (GAC) said its plans to start selling cars in the US under its own brand later this year.

The Guangzhou-based company's president Feng Xingya told reporters at the Detroit show a new R&D centre will be established in California's Silicon Valley in the first half of this year to make preparations for market entry.

If its plans are realised, GAC will be the first Chinese automaker to sell passenger cars in the US under its own brand. 

Currently, Geely ships Volvo cars to the US from China, while BYD also sells electric buses in the country.

GAC started out as a Chinese joint venture partner for global brands such as Fiat-Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Isuzu and Mitsubishi. It has progressed to making and selling its own cars for the Chinese market under the Trumpchi, Gonow, Changfeng and GAC brands.

It is unclear under which brand its cars will be sold in the US but US president-elect Donald Trump is unlikely to be too impressed if the Trumpchi brand were to be used.

Feng Xingya said in an interview that exporting to the US will be "a key part of our efforts to become a global player" and that "success in North America is vital" to achieve these goals. He added the company would not begin exporting cars unless he was confident of success.