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Chinese automaker GAC unveils Entranze concept crossover

A new North American HQ, but still no cars for sale in the United States.


By Sven Gustafson, Autoblog 

Despite still having no vehicles for sale in the United States, Chinese automakerGAC Motors returned to the Detroit auto show for the fifth time to show another concept vehicle called the Entranze. It represents the brand's first vehicle to be designed solely in the company's design center in Los Angeles, and it boasts novel design features including judicious use of cork in the seat backs and door panels, plus a voice control interface and a living room-like cabin.

The real news may be the company's incremental moves toward establishing an actual U.S. sales presence. The company announced it has established a North American sales company-slash-headquarters in Irvine, Calif., which will house functions that include branding, marketing, product planning and financial management. Also, GAC on Tuesday plans to celebrate the opening of a new $4.4 million, 50,000 square-foot research and development facility in suburban Detroit, its first in the area and third facility in the United States after its Los Angeles design center and another R&D center in Silicon Valley.


GAC executives said they're now targeting the first half of 2020 to launch their first product in the United States. That's been postponed from late 2019 on account of the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China, executives said. "In 2016 we made the decision to enter the U.S. market and we have made steady progress," GAC Motor President Yu Jun told reporters via a translator. He acknowledged it's been "an uphill battle."

Back to the Entranze, which made its global debut introduced by a team of choreographed dancers. GAC calls it a "hyper-modern family vehicle," with a presenter referring to it as a "multi-purpose utility crossover." However you define it, the Entranze is a seven-seater with a 3+2+2 layout and a passthrough aisle inspired by aircraft, which it turns out is a common inspiration point for the vehicle. The company strongly hinted but did not specify that it's an electric car, and given that we saw no tailpipes on it, we'll go with it. (An earlier press release called it an EV.)


In place of a traditional control panel is a voice-activated user interface and dynamic buttons on the steering wheel. There are also two side-mounted displays for functional feature control and curved displays with retractable cork-covered panels, if the presentation video is to be believed, for passenger entertainment. There's also an integrated cargo system with a movable central storage trolley that slides between seats, removable backpacks that double as in-vehicle storage and a folding rocker panel that doubles as seating and extra storage. The aircraft elements repeat with overhead consoles, foldable tray tables and the exterior design itself. The doors are sliding glass, and the rocker panel slides, too.

The Entranze launches in the second half of this year — in China, we presume — based on what the company calls its "New Energy" platform. The company said it plans to have all of its models electrified by 2025 and plans to launch Level 3 semi-autonomous driving capabilities by early 2020.


GAC, which now sells in 16 countries in five regions, said it sold 535,168 cars globally in 2018, an increase of 5.23 percent but short of its own target, as the Chinese auto market in 2018 saw its first contraction in two decades.

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Autos Magazine: Chinese automaker GAC unveils Entranze concept crossover
Chinese automaker GAC unveils Entranze concept crossover
A new North American HQ, but still no cars for sale in the United States.
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