Chinese automakers have had their sights set on North America for some time, but the latest one to express an interest in making a go of it here faces an interesting hurdle—its name sounds a lot like that of a controversial U.S. President.
Over the past few years, a Chinese manufacturer calling itself Trumpchi, run by a state-owned company called GAC, has achieved success selling its vehicles in its home country, and now wants to leverage that by expanding to North America within two years.
Trumpchi’s success is borne on the backs of vehicles like its GS8 SUV, a seven-seater that, along with the GM8 minivan, boast fit and finish to rival that of Korean and Japanese manufacturers.
Quality is obviously a big hurdle to overcome when trying to establish a presence in a new market, but what about that name?
Trumpchi’s execs are acutely aware of the problem, according to Robert Maling Jr., an adviser to GAC, who says “it would be confusing to the American public to have the Trumpchi name.”
China’s massive auto industry has grown rapidly thanks to protectionist policies that imposed high tariffs on imported cars and forced multinational automakers who work with local manufacturers to produce vehicles on a joint basis.
It’s a move that has allowed the country’s car makers to learn how to make good cars, but now the Chinese government appears to be ready to relax those rules as it moves to promote the export of cars built there. China has been reluctant to do so before now for fear of poorly made products proving an embarrassment.
Whatever GAC decides to do regarding the Trumpchi name (which apparently loosely translates as “passing on happiness” in Chinese), it hopes to begin selling cars in the United States, if not all of North America, by the end of 2019.
(via The New York Times)