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October 4, 2021

GAC Motor Enters North American Market

GAC Motor is entering the North American market by re-badging their GAC GS5 SUV to the Dodge Journey.

The state-owned carmaker which operates a joint-venture with Dodge’s parent company, Stellantis, has started exporting the SUV built in Hangzhou to Mexico. The first batch, consisting of 770 units have already shipped. By the end of the year, GAC expects to ship nearly 4,000 units.

GAC has been eyeing the North American market for years. It originally planned to enter the U.S. first. But it suspended the plan in 2018 over concerns of escalating trade tensions between China and the U.S.

It started researching the Mexican market in 2019 and later decided to access the country by contract manufacturing vehicles for Stellantis, GAC said.

It is very clear that the Dodge version of the GAC GS5 uses a different grille, but no other details were provided. In China though, the GS5 is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged direct-injected gasoline engine making 168 horsepower and 265 Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic.

The five-seat, front-wheel-drive compact SUV is 4,695 mm long, 1,885 mm wide and 1,726 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,710 mm.

GAC said it expects to deepen and broaden ties with Stellantis, adding it “will continue to explore the Mexican market as well as its surrounding areas,” without providing more details on future cooperation with the newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group.

In China, GAC’s 50-50 partnership with Stellantis assembles four Jeep models: the Grand Commander, Renegade, Compass and Cherokee.

Sales at the JV, after plunging for three straight years since 2018, shrank 45 percent to 13,012 vehicles in the first eight months of 2021, according to data released by GAC.

Lackluster sales are prompting GAC and Stellantis to shutter one of the partnership’s two plants. The Guangzhou factory in south China will be closed next year while a Changsha factory in central China will remain open.

Stellantis will become the second global automaker to sell rebadged China-built vehicles in Mexico, following General Motors.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. is a three-way partnership between GM and two Chinese automakers SAIC Motor Corp. and Wuling Motors Holdings. It produces and markets cars under the Baojun market entry brand and minibuses under the Wuling marque in China. The Baojun 510 is set to arrive in Mexico in mid-October.

The crossover is SAIC-GM-Wuling’s third product to be sold under the Chevrolet badge in Mexico, following the Baojun 530 compact crossover and the Wuling Hongguan V minibus.

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