GAC Motor now in Malaysia – Chinese brand’s showroom is located at Tan Chong headquarters in Jalan Ipoh, launching this month
There is another new Chinese car brand in Malaysia, and that is GAC Motor. The local partner of the Guangzhou Automotive Group is the Tan Chong Group, and we spotted the new brand’s first showroom. Occupying a lot next to Nissan at TC Jalan Ipoh’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, the sign with the name GAC Motor was installed yesterday.
According to a TC representative, the new brand will be officially announced this year. There are less than two weeks to go until the end of 2021, which means it’s going to be very, very soon. This development comes shortly after the Tan Chong Group introduced the JMC (Jiangling Motors Co) brand in Malaysia, as well as the Vigus Pro pickup in October.
The relationship officially began in December 2020, when Tan Chong signed a memorandum of understanding with GAC Motor for the sale and assembly of GAC vehicles in Malaysia and Vietnam. Earlier this year, we spotted some camouflaged mules during testing of GAC’s GS3 SUV in Malaysia, and this B-segment SUV could very well be the brand’s debut model in Malaysia.
In China, the GAC GS3 SUV is powered by a 1.5L three-cylinder turbo engine with 163 hp and 235 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 4,000 rpm. The transmission is transmitted to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 163 PS / 235 Nm output sits between the two engines of the Proton X50 – the standard 150 PS / 226 Nm and the 177 PS / 255 Nm direct injection of the Flagship.
In its home market, the Trumpchi GS3 can also be fitted with a 1.5L NA four-cylinder engine (115 PS / 150 Nm) and a 1.3 L turbo four-cylinder with 137 PS / 202 Nm. As such, the 1.5L three-cylinder turbo would be the best choice for Malaysia, as it is on par with the Chinese B-SUV that everyone is familiar with.
In terms of size, the GS3’s footprint is very similar to that of the X50, but it is a bit larger (76mm). At 4350mm long and 1825mm wide, the GAC is 20mm longer and 25mm wider than the Geely-based Proton. As such, it will be significantly larger than the Perodua Ativa, the other local benchmark SUV.
We should get the GS3 in a makeover form, which means a full-height grille with slim dual-barrel LED headlights. There is a bit of X50 on the rearmost pillars, where the panes are visually connected to the rear window, creating a floating roof effect.
The cabin has a minimalist design and uses the Mercedes-Benz style screen layout, where the infotainment screen is an extension of the dashboard. The latter is digital, of course. The GS3 can be fitted with ADAS driver assistance systems in China.
If this is indeed the launch model for the GAC Motor brand, the GS3 will enter a very competitive RM100k to RM150k SUV segment that includes the Proton X50 and Proton X70, the recent Toyota Corolla Cross, the coming Subaru XV. to be updated and the one that started it all, the Honda HR-V, among others. Lower variants of large SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are also offered for less than RM 150,000.
To say the least, and the price / content will be very important for the GS3. Since Tan Chong is an established assembler with large capacity, GAC vehicles could either be assembled locally by CKD or use the common method of a first batch imported by CBU, before CKD operations take over. Check out the GAC GS3 below – what do you think?
GALLERY: GAC Trumpchi GS3 Power in China