GAC NE Aion Y concept
In addition to JVs with Toyota, Honda & Acura, Mitsubishi and Stellantis (Jeep), GAC’s thriving own-brand business sold more than 360,000 passenger vehicles in China last year. The Trumpchi GS4 accounted for a third of that volume but many other models also performed well. Next for GAC are replacements for various combustion-engine models, along with yet more New Energy vehicles for the Aion sub-brand.
The Trumpchi EMPOW55 (unlikely to be its production name) due out later in 2021 draws its styling detail from the EMPOW55 which debuted at the 2020 Guangzhou motor show. The engine should be a 1.6-litre petrol turbo.
As for models which are already available, as noted in the introduction, the Trumpchi GS4 range remains the brand’s top performer, 126,656 having been delivered to customers in China during 2020 (+14%). The second generation of this C segment SUV was announced in November 2019 and was launched with a standard 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo engine with stated outputs of 169 PS and 265 Nm. The was also the first vehicle for GPMA, a new GAC platform.
The Trumpchi GS4 Coupe was revealed at the Guangzhou motor show, also in November 2019. This is the same model as the GS4 but with a different body that has a lower roof. Sales commenced in the first quarter of 2020. We should expect facelifts for both in 2023 and replacements in 2025 or 2026. They will likely be EVs.
Another model in high demand is the smaller Trumpchi GS3. This 4,350 mm long SUV has been available in China since August 2017, with a facelift announced in September last year, along with the addition of a sports version called GS3 Power. The successor is due in 2023/2024.
One of the segments where GAC does particularly well compared to other Chinese brands is MPVs. The M8 is a case in point. This big minivan was previewed by the Trumpchi i-Lounge, a striking looking concept which premiered at November 2015’s Guangzhou motor show.
Launched into the home market at the start of 2018 as the GM8, the 5,088 mm long model was given a facelift and a name change last year. Its successor is due in 2023.
Smaller than the M8 but almost as popular is the GM6, another MPV. Its debut was at the Beijing motor show in April 2018 but Chinese market sales didn’t commence until that November. Last year, sales volume was 39,509 units, up 11%. Buyers can choose from two petrol engines but there is no hybrid or PHEV. GAC will probably remedy that situation when it comes time to replace this model, which should be in 2024 or 2025.
After a low key debut with one model in July 2017, GAC has gradually built up what is now a broad range of EVs for its New Energy sub-brand. And more models are coming.
NE started off with the GE, although the electric crossover was initially called Trumpchi EV Coupe when revealed as a prototype at Auto Guangzhou in November 2015. A second concept, this time called GAC GE3, premiered at the Detroit auto show in January 2017 but so far nothing has come of a stated intention to launch the brand in the US.
The vehicle, which should be facelifted later in 2021 and probably given an updated battery pack and a new name at the same time, has a claimed range of 310 km (193 miles). Power is 120 kW (163 hp) and torque peaks at 290 Nm (214 ft lb).
A year after the debut of the GE3, GAC launched the GAC NE brand for EVs, each of these models having an Aion prefix (e.g. Aion S, Aion LX, Aion V).
The fourth model (fifth if including the low volume fuel cell version of the LX – see below) for the Aion sub-brand will be released in China later this year. A five-door electric crossover, it was first seen as the Aion Y concept (pictured above) at the Guangzhou motor show in November.
There will supposedly be two cars, one of which is to be shorter (4,325 mm Aion Y Pio) than the other (4,410 mm Aion Y) and designed especially for taxi operators. Both are said to have a 2,750 mm wheelbase.
Three months ago, GAC NE had its name changed to GAC Aion New Energy Automobile Co.,Ltd. It is believed that GAC plans to eventually float this division.
Speaking at GAC’s ‘Tech Day’ in July 2020, Feng Xingya, the president of GAC Group, said the company would commence a test programme for a hydrogen-fuelled Aion LX later in the year. The fuel cell car prototype’s maximum range was claimed to be 650 km (404 miles), power coming from a 150 kW and 350 Nm single motor.
A joint venture with Toyota launched the iA5 in September 2019. Sold as the GAC Toyota iA5, this 4,792 mm long SUV is based on the Aion S. There are GAC logos on its front and rear but a GAC Toyota badge also appears on the bottom left corner of the boot lid. The original is an electric five-door hatchback which went on sale in China during May 2019, six months after its world debut in prototype form at the Guangzhou motor show.
GAC NE said at the time of the Aion S’ sales release that it was the first vehicle to use a then-new generation of CATL lithium-ion cells, the power density of which was stated as being 170 Wh/kg. The electric axle, meanwhile, is supplied by Nidec. This combines the inverter, gearbox and motor into one 87 kg module.
GAC Toyota quotes the same 510 km range for the iA5 with the CATL-supplied battery pack having an output of 58.8 kWh. Power and torque are also as for the original: 135 kW and 300 Nm.
Last year, iA5 deliveries totalled 6,828 units. The model should be facelifted in mid-2023 and replaced in 2026.
Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future platform intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Center. That includes those GAC models not mentioned above, along with GAC’s Changfeng brand vehicles plus Hycan, a GAC-Nio JV.
Mahindra will be the subject of the next feature in just-auto.com’s future vehicles reports series.