GAC Announces It Is Serious About US Car Market By Bringing Ridiculous Enverge Concept To Detroit

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Last week, Chinese manufacturer GAC, a subsidiary of Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group, announced its intentions to enter the US market by bringing an all electric 2 door SUV with pseudo gull wing doors and alternate reality screens where the side windows should be to the Detroit Auto Show. The concept is called Enverge and by some quirk of fate, the GAC display at the show was directly across from the GMC stand. Foreshadowing? A bold marketing move designed to throw down the gauntlet to GM? Or just a random hiccup in how the show was organized?

Enverge Concept

First, here’s what we know about the Enverge concept, thanks to The Verge. It features a 71 kWh battery that can be recharged wirelessly to extend its range by 210 miles in just 10 minutes. Total range when fully charged is said to be 370 miles, but whether that is by EPA standards or some other measure is unknown. Here’s a feature absolutely no one is asking for: the headlights can be detached from the car and used as flood lights. Oh, happy day!

The Enverge concept may be the goofiest thing to hit the show circuit since Faraday Future unleashed is FF01 single seat super duper car at the Consumer Electronics show in 2016. Note to GAC: First, nobody wants a two door SUV thingamajig. As in no one. Second, scissor doors were cool back in the late 80’s. They aren’t cool anymore. They just look strange in an odd and very unappealing way.

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But don’t dismiss GAC as some Johnny-come-lately lightweight. The company sold 500,000 cars in China last year — up 37% from 2016. It says it intends to begin selling cars in the US in 2019 and is working on a link-up with Fiat Chrysler and its US sales network.

GAC GA4 sedan

GAC had one of its GA4 midsize sedans intended for sale in the UK on its display stand in Detroit. As I write this, I am in Dubai to attend the 2018 EV Road Trip event (Thanks, Zachary). One of the first things I noticed at the airport was a large digital display featuring the entire GAC lineup. (BAIC and Great Wall are here, too.)

People used to laugh at Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai but they aren’t laughing anymore. GAC has the production experience to build cars and lots of them. The US is a tough market to crack for a newcomer, but doing so is not impossible. You may think cars from China are a joke, but your grandkids probably won’t.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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