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Qoros Auto Co Ltd, the new independent carmaker from China, made its public debut on Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show by unveiling the first in a series of new models aimed at discerning young buyers in China and Europe.
The 50-50 joint venture established in 2007 by Chery Automobile, China's biggest automaker by sales, and Israel Corp, the largest holding company in its namesake country, is the only Chinese automaker at the show, after China's battery and car maker BYD Co Ltd exhibited its models at the event in 2010 and 2011.
Qoros is presenting the world premiere of its first production vehicle, a four-door compact car, the Qoros 3 Sedan.
The company is also presenting two concept models - the Qoros 3 hybrid and Qoros 3 estate - at the show.
It's been a busy period for the fledgling car company after it prevailed in a legal tussle last week in Switzerland filed by German luxury vehicle producer Audi AG, which claimed the Qoros name violates its right in using the letter Q on vehicles.
A Geneva court ruled that Audi must pay 15,000 Swiss francs ($15.880) in costs to Qoros and rejected a temporary injunction requested by the German auto giant.
"Debuting our first car at the Geneva Auto Show indicates Qoros' confidence and commitment to producing high quality cars," said Guo Qian, chairman and chief executive of the Changshu, Jiangsu province-based company.
"Being accepted by the European media and customers here, which are among the most critical for cars, will mean real success for Qoros," he added.
Guo said the Qoros 3 sedan has entered pre-production after two years of extensive testing at key locations around the world.
The model will hit the Chinese market in the second half of this year, with the first European sales expected by the end of the year. It is aimed at competing with similar models from Volkswagen and Toyota.
The company will produce the sedan in Changshu with an initial annual production of 150,000 units, rising to 450,000 units a year in future.
"We expect to launch other new model at intervals of six to eight months," said Guo.
The Qoros has been created by an international team with major design input from nine different automotive brands.
Klaus Schmidt, Qoros' executive director for automotive engineering, who joined the company from German giant BMW AG, said: "The Qoros team has had complete control over the design of the vehicles, their branding and the technology involved, without having to make compromises, which has given me a unique opportunity to start from scratch, with a blank sheet of paper."
Guo added that the company, which has its engineering, commercial and purchasing functions based in Shanghai, is also building operations in Munich, Germany and Graz, Austria, "to make Qoros a truly international brand".
He said the basis of its design is quality and styling, combined with safety and fuel economy.
Everything involved in the evolution of the brand has been geared toward making a product that appeals to a modern, metropolitan customer from China and Europe, added Guo.
(China Daily 03/07/2013 page16)