What Does This Design Patent Mean for America?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
what does this design patent mean for america

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.

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.”

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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  • YeOldeMobile YeOldeMobile on Nov 15, 2017

    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.

  • Volvo Volvo on Nov 15, 2017

    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.

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.