Story by Jason Woosey

With GWM/Haval and Chery Auto already giving their rivals sleepless nights, another major Chinese automaker is aiming to make a splash in South Africa. Meet GAC Motor.

The carmaker announced on Wednesday that it has entered into an agreement to with Salvador Caetano Auto to distribute vehicles, parts and services in Mzansi.

Founded in 2008 as part of the GAC Group, GAC Motor currently has representation in major markets around the world, including the Middle East, Europe and South America.

Salvador Caetano Auto, an international group dedicated to the motor industry, currently has a presence in 41 countries and has been in business for 75 years.

“This strategic partnership marks the beginning of a significant investment that will enable us to rapidly establish GAC Motor as a relevant automotive player in South Africa,” said Salvador Executive Board Member Sérgio Ribeiro.

The two companies have yet to announce what products will be available in South Africa, but given the popularity of compact SUVs in our country, it’s likely that models such as the GS3 Emzoom will spearhead the local line-up.

GAC offers a huge variety of SUVs, sedans and MPVs in international markets. Its SUV and crossover products, from small to large, include the GS3, GS4, Emcoo, GS5 and GS8.

Less likely contenders for our sedan-averse market are the GA4, GA5, Empow and GA8 saloons, while the GN6 and GN8 MPVs could potentially take a stab at our people mover market.

A likely candidate in our view is the striking new GAC GS3 Emzoom, which fits roughly between the Chery Tiggo 4 and Haval Jolion in terms of size.

Power comes from a 130kW 1.5-litre turbopetrol engine feeding the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

GAC Motor also offers an older version of the GS3, with a normally aspirated 1.5 that produces 84kW and a turbocharged 1.3 that offers 101kW. These could certainly make a sensible entry point to the local range.

The coupe-like GAC Emcoo, similar in size to Haval’s H6, could also present an interesting and stylish alternative to local buyers if it gets the nod.

Overseas the Emcoo is offered with a 132kW 1.5 turbopetrol or a 2.0-litre petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.

The GS8, measuring just under five metres in length and boasting a boxy exterior design, could make for an interesting alternative to the Hyundai Palisade. This big cruise ship of an SUV is powered by a 2.0-litre turbopetrol engine good for 185kW.

Of course, GAC motor has yet to confirm which models will debut locally, or when they might arrive.

IOL Motoring

By Dirk

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