Joint ventures between Chinese companies with cheap labour and perceived quality problems, and Western automakers with excess capacity who want to get into the lucrative Chinese market are nothing new, but this one is unusual in that it comes with no pre-conceived hang-ups and no baggage - even the name is new.
Say 'Shalom' to the Qoros GQ3 C-segment sedan, due to make its world debut at the Geneva auto show in March 2013, before going on sale in China in the second half of 2013, with the first cars arriving in Europe later in the year.
Under director of design Gert Volker Hildebrand, a team of designers in Munich and Shanghai have created a distinctive and firmly Eurocentric design language, introducing what is intended to be an instantly recognisable brand identity, with a long wheelbase, short overhangs, a fashionable coupé-like silhouette and a roof that flows smoothly into the rear quarters.
Wide headlight clusters extend into the sides of the car, framing the central upper grille at the same height, with horizontal LED bars at the upper edge of the headlight clusters.
The standard alloy wheels have a triple-split eight-spoke design, which will become another signature Qoros feature.
Inside, a 'floating' dashboard will feature a 200mm touchscreen infotainment system with new software, technology and graphics developed in-house to minimise driver distraction and provide maximum ease-of-use while on the move.
The capacitive touchscreen will enable users to manage entertainment, navigation, 'cloud' connectivity and in-car networking functions with intuitive finger 'swipe' movements that will be familiar to smartphone users.
The system will allow drivers to book dealer service appointments, support usage-based car insurance services and will send an automatic emergency services alert after an accident, while integrated social networking connectivity will allow drivers to share their driving experiences, points-of-interest, favourite trips and photos via social media through the intuitive interface.
THE NAME EXPLAINED
Qoros is planning a large range, so some thought has gone into its three-digit model designation. The first letter indicates the body style, in this case “G” means a sedan.
The middle letter will always be a “Q”, referring to the brand, while the third digit will always be a number, indicating the segment into which the model fits - in this case “3” for the “C” or compact sedan segment.
Qoros is a new partnership - founded in 2007 - between Chery, China's largest independent car manufacturer, and Israel Corporation, a global holding company, with offices in Shanghai and a new production plant under construction in Changshu province with an initial production capacity of 150 000 vehicles a year, which can be increased to 450 000.