China is the world’s biggest car market, yet its local manufacturers have so far – although we can’t say they didn’t try to change that – remained decidedly local. Now, upstart Qoros Auto Co. is seeking its fortunes with the western customers.
Qoros is a joint venture between China’s Cher and a Tel Aviv-based holding company called Israel Corp. and has just presented during the Geneva auto show its second model ever, a hatchback called 3 – last year it came with a sedan at the same venue.
“We have the big advantage that we’re starting from scratch, from zero,” said Stefano Villanti, head of sales and product strategy. “We have no legacy, no baggage. We have the luxury of looking at the car world with a fresh eye.”
“We will eventually see more Chinese brands coming into Europe,” said Tim Urquhart, an analyst with IHS Automotive in London. “It won’t be an overnight flood. It’s going to be a very slow and gradual process.”
Qoros joins Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor who levied its entry in Europe via Bulgaria, with the models from Qoros attacking first the Slovakian market. The two models face tough competition, as they are pitted against compact offerings from Volkswagen or PSA Peugeot Citroen.