NewUsed

Find by category:

Exhaust Notes

Qoros, the Chinese-European-Israeli mashup car, preps for Geneva

Former employees from established European brands have joined this new Chinese automaker, which is backed by an Israeli investment group.

By Clifford Atiyeh Feb 20, 2013 9:48AM
In two weeks, we'll get to see Qoros premiere its compact sedan at the Geneva Motor Show.

We'd like to write off Qoros as another Chinese automaker trying and failing to make it big. But with its chief designers, engineers and quality directors hailing from BMW, Volkswagen, Opel and Jaguar Land Rover, that means the entire industry will be paying proper attention at the world's pre-eminent auto show for upcoming, sidelined and altogether strange brands.

As such, Qoros is promising quality and safety, two items that aren't even on the short list of most Chinese automakers. No specs have been announced, but Audi has already forced Qoros to change its model name from GQ3 to 3. Somehow, GQ magazine and BMW were not irked.

Qoros 3 sedan (c) Qoros
Two 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engines will be available in China: a naturally aspirated unit with 126 horsepower and a turbocharged option with 156 horsepower. A 6-speed manual transmission will be standard while a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic is optional, as is automatic start-stop. An 8-inch touch-screen display will be fitted to all models.

As for looks, the 3 has a bit of Opel in its blood (no surprise) and a bit of the 2014 Kia Forte in its overall shape. But it's decently attractive.

Qoros 3 hybrid crossover (c) Qoros
An all-wheel-drive hybrid crossover, pictured above, will come next and combine a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine with a rear-mounted electric motor. A station wagon will follow, as seen below.

Qoros 3 estate (c) Qoros
Unlike most Chinese brands that only export to developing markets, Qoros wants to sell these cars in Europe and the U.S. and is building a manufacturing plant capable of turning out 150,000 cars per year.

The company's management is even more diverse. Half of Qoros is owned by Israel Corp., an Israeli investment group, and the other half by Chery, a Chinese automaker fully owned by the Chinese government. Former Yugo importer Malcolm Bricklin attempted to import Chery cars into the U.S. around 2008, but no one would touch the brand, especially after General Motors complained that "Chery" sounded an awful lot like "Chevy." Last year, Chery entered a joint venture agreement to build Jaguar Land Rover models in China.

I can't speak for what a Chinese-Israeli mashup like Qoros will become, but I can say that Chery builds some of the worst cars on the planet, ranging from barely adequate to utter garbage. I drove two of them while on assignment in South Africa.

Still, as last year's Beijing Motor Show proved, Chinese automakers are catching on fast. They have zero clout in established markets, but to doubt them is to be doomed.

Qoros 3 sedan interior (c) Qoros
2Comments
Feb 20, 2013 10:56AM
avatar
Who would have thought that the biggest growing market for Ferrari, Jaguar, Bentley and all the other luxury brands would be the communist country of China?? Culturally and philosophically they are in it for the long haul and as Clifford says it would be a mistake to underestimate them or count them out.
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
MSN Money

ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES

Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.

Have a story idea? Tip us off at exhaustnotes@live.com.