That the Qoros GQ3 compact saloon looks so conventionally European is not the most surprising aspect of the company’s latest teaser, instead what strikes me most is this short statement in the Chinese car maker’s press release – “..(the GQ3) signals the brand’s commitment to creating a range of attractive, modern models for discerning customers in Europe and China.”
China has traditionally been the mass-production centre of most consumer markets. We assumed Chinese brands would follow the path taken by the Koreans several decades ago, but on a significantly larger scale, flooding the market with cheap, nasty, badly-designed and purely functional cars with few redeeming features for those of us who choose cars based on their quality, personality or character.
Qoros looks set to turn that stereotype on its head with a range of technically advanced products, designed and developed.. by Europeans. Volker Steinwascher is the company’s Vice Chairman and Deputy CEO while Gert Volker Hildebrand is their Executive Director of Design.
The Qoros model line-up is said to be characterised by modern, German-influenced design, world-class safety technology, and some of the highest production quality standards, which is perhaps less of a surprise when you realise they are partnered with Magna Steyr, TRW, Continental, Bosch, Microsoft and Iconmobile.
Each Qoros will feature as standard an advanced infotainment system unique in the automotive sector, which includes comprehensive networking, connectivity and guidance functionality. The GQ3 offers an eight-inch capactive touchscreen, developed entirely in-house, which replaces the array of switches and buttons found in most conventional cars.
A capactive touchscreen, used most notably in Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, relies on the electrical properties of the human body to detect when and where on a display the user is touching. This differs from resistive touchscreens that you might typically find on products which use a mechanical stylus or instrument. Capactive screens are more sensitive and can be controlled with very light touches, making them especially suitable for applications where the user needs to make fast and accurate inputs – without taking their eyes off the road for too long.
Qoros will launch its first production model, the GQ3, at the Geneva Motor Show in March, accompanying it with the Cross Hybrid and Estate Concepts which will follow on a release schedule at intervals of around six months.
Vice Chairman Volker Steinwascher said “The Qoros GQ3 is the first of many models that will be based on this platform, and the technology will allow us to develop a complete model family in a very efficient manner.”
The Cross Hybrid Concept will feature a hybrid-drive system, using intelligent control software to ensure a seamless transition between petrol-engined front-wheel drive, electric motor rear-wheel drive, and an all-wheel drive mode employing both power units together.
Qoros Auto was founded in 2007 in a partnership between Chery Automobile, China’s largest independent car manufacturer, and Israel Corporation, Israel’s largest industrial holding company. Its brand position is clearly distinguished from domestic Chinese car makers by its international joint ventures and European management team.
With its short overhangs and a coupé-like silhouette, the Qoros GQ3 looks set to become one of the stars of the Geneva show and perhaps the most scrutinised by the German auto execs who won’t take kindly to such a credible intrusion from China..