While having produced the first supercar to come out of China, Qoros still has to prove it is not another startup set to fail.
The Sino-Israeli automaker launched its first car in 2013 hoping to become successful in China, which is the world’s biggest auto market, but also on the European car market. The automaker has since changed its CEO, encountered dreary sales and faced inquiries from analysts about its financial capacity of success. The brand’s hopes of becoming a globally acclaimed car brand seems to be further than ever as it faces difficulties when met with new comers in the car industry.
Phil Murtaugh, former China specialist at GM, who was in charge of the electric carmaker Coda before becoming head of Qoros, said that “Nobody knows who Qoros is.” The company does have a five-year business plan but will face a difficult period in search of a rebrand as to achieve profitability by 2018 and the long-term success it desires.
Set up in 2007, Qoros came to life as a joint venture between a state-owned domestic Chinese carmaker named Chery and Israel Corp., a conglomerate ran by London-based billionaire, Idan Ofer. The chief of Qoros has been before the chair of a no longer existing electric car venture called Better Place, and managed to put together for Qoros a team made up of European engineers that included former BMW designer Gert Hildebrand and former chief of Volkswagen North America, Volker Steinwascher.
Even if Qoros has a production capacity of 150,000 cars at its factory in Changshu, the carmaker only managed to sell 7000 cars last year. Murtaugh is focused on rebranding the auto manufacturer and establishing Qoros as a Chinese company, rather than an expensive curiosity and believes that once people get to know the brand, it will become successful.
By Gabriela Florea