The new brand is called Qoros and is a joint-venture between Chery and Israel Corporation.Chery has promised to enter the U.S. market in the past but it has never succeeded. The Chinese automaker has seemingly changed course and is now aiming for the European market.
The story goes back to 2007, when Chery teamed up with Israel Corporation (Israel's largest holding company) to form a joint-venture. The venture was approved by the Chinese government but no news was heard from it until recently, when the two groups announced that they had started a new car brand called Qoros Automotive Company.
According to a spokesman for the brand, the first Qoros will be a compact sedan and will be more upscale than anything in the Chery lineup. Chery currently specializes in low-cost cars such as the QQ and the Cowin, a slightly updated version of the 1991 SEAT Toledo.
Qoros said that its first drivable prototype will be ready next week. The group hopes to start selling its new, unnamed sedan in both China and Europe in 2013.
Chery and Israel Corp. have set an ambitious goal for the Qoros sedan: they want it to be the first Chinese car to earn a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating. To achieve that, they have hired Gert Hildebrand, ex-design head for MINI, and they are actively working with Austria's Magna Steyr.
The Qoros sedan will be built in a factory that is currently under construction in Changshu, a city west of Shanghai. It will have an initial annual capacity of 150,000 cars, but that number could grow to around 300,000 over time.
According to Volker Steinwascher, the vice chairman of Qoros, the brand's name is "a new word meant to represent a company that stands for quality and works together like a chorus". Steinwascher added that "quality, design, and simplicity" will be the key drivers for the Qoros brand.
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