By on November 14, 2017

trumpchi GS7, Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

It may look like a strange amalgam of Ford and General Motors styling cues, maybe with a dash of something else (Nissan?), but the model in the image you see above is no mystery. And it’s certainly not domestic.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office bestowed a design patent on a certain automaker today and, while the model isn’t named, we know exactly what it is. Does this Trumpchi get your vote?

The model’s name — Trumpchi GS8 — has nothing to do with President Donald Trump; rather, it’s a reference to “China’s trump card.” The three-row GS8 is a larger sibling to the five-seat GS7 launched in China in September. All Trumpchi models are built by Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (GAC), to which this American patent was issued.

trumpchi GS7, Image: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Certainly, this model, like its little brother, looks the business. Unlike some other Chinese brands (*cough* Landwind *cough*), Trumpchi models aren’t complete ripoffs of existing designs. There’s not much to get upset about while looking at this design. But why are we looking at it at all? GAC Motor has no dealer network in the United States, and no Chinese automaker has yet to offer a model in the country. Buick, with its Envision crossover, already offers American buyers a Chinese-built vehicle.

The automaker originally filed for the patent on September 23rd, 2016. According to Bloomberg, which spoke to GAC Motor general Manager Yu Jun in June, the company could be planning to piggyback on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in order to get vehicles into buyers’ hands. The two automakers already have a joint venture going in China.

“We will not rule out a cooperation in the future with Fiat Chrysler in the U.S. market,” Yu said. “Not only to share the sales channel but also in other work in the future — it is possible.”

Trumpchi GS7, Image: YouTube

The executive told Bloomberg to expect a much larger GAC Motor display at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It was also invited to the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association, Yu said. From there it can recruit willing retailers.

While the automaker has a tentative goal of entering the U.S. market in 2019, it first needs to lay the groundwork. Yu said he expected the company to set up a U.S. office in Silicon Valley by October of this year, tasked with handling the research, product development, and sales side of the venture.

[Images: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, YouTube]

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36 Comments on “What Does This Design Patent Mean for America?...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “Trumpchi” I can see that hitting a trademark infringement wall unless they set up head office in Trumpchi towers ;)

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well, now we know where the future Dodge lineup is coming from.

  • avatar
    Heino

    They are finally having a coherent design. Forcing JV’s is paying off. Capitalism. Free markets. They really know how to pick our pockets, and we willingly do it. Profits! Shareholder value! Apologies to all the MBA’s in our midst.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    More Chinese crap! Just what ‘Murica needs.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Nissan and Mitsubishi buyers, your new ride is here!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It’s not bad looking.

    But if they want this thing to sell anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, I’d suggest another brand name stat.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Can I buy it online at walmart.com and then pick it up at TLE?

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I thought Volvo also sells a Chinese-built car here?

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Because calling it “Chump” would be a little too on-the-nose.

  • avatar
    saturnotaku

    That back end looks like the lovechild of a Ford Explorer and a Lexus LX 570.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    I’m confused by design patents. This thing has 4 doors and 4 wheels. Hasn’t that been done before? Shouldn’t someone object?
    Wait a minute. In the first view it looks like the mirrors are using some sort of stealth technology? Is that what they are patenting?

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    “Todd GAC. What is that, Dutch?”

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    If Fiat/Chrysler is sold either together-or by piece meal-it would seem they would be back to the drawing board for a partner.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Most of this vehicle looks pretty okay, which the exception of the Yukon headlights. Why put them there if the real headlights are led squares that completely mute them? Pick one, Range Rover or Yukon.

    Seriously, my first thought about Chrysler becoming Chinese platforms makes me go bleh, but on second thought, its obvious that China appreciates traditional American brands, cars, and their characteristics more than actual Americans do. Maybe mass Chinese support will be what brings back the real full size New Yorkers. (I love the Chrysler 300, but it shouldn’t be the biggest thing in the lineup.)

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Trumpchi-Dumpchi, sounds exhilarating. So that’s where all the rusted made in China bbq grills went. I suppose it’s been decades since the Yugo and Huyndai Excel – today America needs a really junky car to hate.

    Shame on USPTO for granting a patent – for what, a box on four wheels? That’s inventive!

  • avatar
    YeOldeMobile

    Remember how Sergio said that Chrysler would have a crossover in 2019? *nudge nudge* *wink wink*

    Though I’m sure they’ll change the name; it’s too similar to the President’s own brand to avoid a lawsuit of some kind. Maybe they’ll call it the Chrysler 900 or the Chrysler Eagle.

  • avatar
    volvo

    Interesting thread.

    It does make sense for the Chinese to first partner with an established dealer network. Currently FCA makes the most sense.

    Following is just my opinion on current Chinese vs US industrialization and should be taken as such.

    My folks had a phrase for some of the comments posted so far. It was:

    “Whistling past the graveyard”

    I am old enough to remember when Japanese manufactured goods were said to be made out of old beer cans and were just copies of American and European designs. Maybe early on they were. But that changed with time and when the influence of MBAs over engineers became dominant in american manufacturing.

    IMO the Chinese are looking at a timeline in decades not quarterly. Can they develop home-grown cutting edge technology and quality in manufacturing? They certainly have the ability and may have the will to move away from just low price point goods. European and US companies agreed to “share technology” with Chinese manufacturers in order to gain market access. That may account for much of what is called patent infringement.

    When you look at the rapid infrastructure development in urban China it is nothing short of amazing. Multiple reliable sources (Forbes, Bill Gates) say that China used 50% more concrete between 2011-2013 than the US used during the entire 20th century. Use google to look at pictures of 1990 vs 2010 Shanghai and Beijing. Is this type of growth and the sacrifices needed to achieve the growth good? That is an individual opinion

    Another point is that China has a relatively intact culture, language and family structure dating back millennia not centuries. That should serve them well going forward. It appears that the cultural revolution was just a bump in the road but there may be more political upheavals. Having 4 times the population of the US has both advantages and disadvantages. The current top down government may be the only one that works for them.

    Off topic but I believe pertinent to a discussion of Chinese industrialization is the following.

    Because the 50th anniversary of the 747 was in the news I recently reviewed the history of the 747.

    1965 747 design proposed to commercial airlines. Orders were placed.

    1966 Assembly building constructed in Everett Washington. Construction time about one year. From that time to this date it remains the largest building by volume in the world with floor space of over 100 acres.

    1966-1968 Design finalized and assembly begins for first 747-100 series.
    Sept 1968 747 roll-out to public
    Feb 1969 first flight
    Certification Dec 1969.
    January 1970 begins service with commercial airlines.

    Try to do that today in the US. Environmental reviews and regulatory hurdles for the assembly building would probably take 5 years before ground could be broken if permits were ever granted.

    For better or worse China is pushing ahead. I believe they are trying to raise the standard of living for all tiers of their society. Developing a competitive auto industry is just one part of the equation and I hope they succeed.

    Would I want to live or could I be successful in Modern China? No. But I do accept the fact that I am living at relative ease off the sacrifices of my parent’s and grandparent’s generations and in the long run our current course is unlikely to be sustainable.

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