Business / Motoring

Carmaker targets the high-end market

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-19 08:51

Carmaker targets the high-end market

GAC Motor launched a C-class sedan, the GA8, on April 16, 2016.[Provided to China Daily]

As the world's largest carmaking and consuming market, China is capable of becoming a superpower in the research and development of world-class vehicles, according to an industry insider.

Chinese homegrown vehicles have long been labeled as "poor in quality and cheap in price" both at home and abroad due to the industry's focus on the low-end sector.

But Wu Song, general manager of GAC Motor Ltd, a Chinese carmaker, said the market should brace for a new trend, featuring improvements both in quality and design of homegrown vehicles.

"An increased focus on research has helped open a new era for Chinese automobile brands, which are capable of producing high-end luxury cars that are as good as foreign brands," said Wu.

Wu's remarks came after GAC Motor, which was founded in 2008 in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, launched a C-class sedan, the GA8, on Saturday, aiming to tap the high-end market dominated by foreign brands.

The GA8 is based on the company's C-class platform, which has been built with huge investment in the past five years, according to Wu.

"Introduction of the GA8 will change the Chinese car market, in which domestic carmakers should be playing a leading role in the near future," said Wu.

Under the C-class platform, two more high-end varieties-the seven-seat SUV GS8 and the MPV GM8-will be launched later this year.

"The C-class research and development platform will help increase efficiency in producing new models and boost profits. It shows China's capability of making luxury cars-a trend that we are positioned to follow in the future," Wu said.

The GA8, which targets business people and government officials, is priced between 169,800 yuan ($26,200) and 299,800 yuan, about half the price of the Audi A6.

"Following tremendous change in the domestic car market, more business people and government officials would look for Chinese brands with reasonable prices and high quality," said Wu.

In March, GAC Motor unveiled the 235T GS4 and GA6, featuring the company's Ti power technologies. Driven by the sales of the GS4, GAC Motor sold 79,400 cars in the first quarter of this year, a 171 percent increase over the same period in 2015.

Fuelled by the booming domestic SUV market, Chinese carmakers sold more than 2.55 million vehicles in the first quarter of 2016, an 11.1 percent year-on-year increase, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Along with the improved design and quality, Chinese homegrown manufacturers should also boost efforts to promote brands, according to Zhang Zhiyong, a Beijing-based automobile columnist.

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