Qoros bares big plans to make compact car
Qoros Automotive, the joint venture between Chery Automobile and Israel Corporation, will start producing a compact car in 2013 to compete with global brands such as Toyota Corolla in China's slowing market.
Guo Qian, chairman and chief executive of the 50-50 joint venture, said in an interview that the namesake brand car, Qoros, would roll off a line in Changshu, Jiangsu province with an annual capacity of 150,000 units.
'We will double the capacity to 300,000 units, but there's no timetable for the expansion for now because it depends on the sales,' he said. 'We expect the mainland car market to witness stable growth in the coming years.'
China's passenger car sales jumped 32 per cent last year, but growth slowed to 3.15 per cent during the first 10 months of this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Production of the car was expected to begin in early 2013, Guo said.
He said that other models, including a hatchback, would also be developed. 'We want to focus on the first model before making plans for other ones.'
The joint venture will run independently from state-owned parent Chery and develop its own models to tap the world's largest auto market.
The sedan was designed by Gert Hildebrand, a former designer for BMW Mini.
Admitting that the mid-class sedan segment in China was a highly competitive market, Guo said the company would focus on 'driving with enjoyment' to attract buyers there.
Qoros Automotive has a research and development office in Shanghai.
The car is designed to meet the 2013 Euro NCAP Five-Star quality requirements.
It was reported that the Qoros vehicle would carry a price tag of between 93,379 yuan (HK$114,250) and 127,335 yuan.
Foreign car brands dominate the market in China, accounting for 70 per cent of sales. Deliveries of passenger cars topped 19 million units last year.