China's Qoros set to launch compact car in Europe
Geneva debut for Skoda Rapid rival
Chinese brand Qoros will debut its GQ3 compact sedan at the Geneva auto show in March ahead of a European launch later this year.
Alongside the GQ3, the brand will also display concepts previewing a crossover hatchback and a station wagon in Geneva. The crossover will feature a gasoline-electric, all-wheel-drive hybrid drivetrain, but no other engine details were given.
A Qoros spokesman did not disclose in which countries the brand will launch this year. "We are in the process setting up the European organization and have not yet decided the launch sequence," he told Automotive News Europe.
Chinese cars offered in European have previously performed badly in EuroNCAP crash tests, but Qoros says it is targeting "top scores" for the GQ3 in both the European and Chinese tests.
The GQ3 is expected to compete against cars such as the Skoda Rapid and Seat Toledo. Pricing hasn't been announced. According to a statement from Qoros, the new car will have "unusually generous interior space" for its segment.
Standard equipment will include a multifunction touch screen that features sat-nav as well as Internet connectivity. The in-house developed 8-inch screen will also feature controls for traditional functions such as the heater and air conditioning, the company said.
Qoros is a partnership between Chinese automaker Chery and investment company Israel Corporation and aims to offer "attractive" models that will appeal to customers in both Europe and China.
In charge of Qoros design is former Mini head of styling Gert Hildebrand. Deputy CEO is Volker Steinwascher, a former head of Volkswagen in the United States.
Other high-profile employees hired from Western car companies include the former head of vehicle engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, Peter Makin, now the executive director of the vehicle program at Qoros. Also working for the company is the former chief engineer for vehicle performance and xhassis at BMW, Klaus Schmidt, who is executive director of vehicle engineering.
Qoros cars will be built at a new factory in Changshu near Shanghai with an initial production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year. That can be increased to 450,000 vehicles per year, the company said.
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