Your Future Steed? Brawny Chinese SUV Spied Testing in Colorado

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
your future steed brawny chinese suv spied testing in colorado

This Chinese New Yorker is a long way from home. Photos snapped by TTAC reader MUSASHI66 show a GAC GS8 SUV sunning itself in an Aurora, Colorado parking lot. Wearing New York dealer plates, the SUV also carries a Motorola Radius two-way radio and front passenger seat-mounted laptop, which isn’t standard content in any SUV.

Of course, this isn’t just any SUV. It’s a utility vehicle made by an automaker that really, really wants to spread its wings in the United States.

China’s GAC (Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor Co.) sprung for a big display at this January’s Detroit auto show, eager to spur interest in the automaker’s diverse vehicle offerings. Your author spent some time relaxing in the La-Z-Boy-like rear seats of the GM8 MPV, the brand’s large minivan.

The model spied in Colorado, however, is the vehicle seen as the best candidate to forge inroads into the American market. An intermediate-sized, three-row SUV, the GS8 carries the “Trumpchi” moniker in its home country, with the nameplate’s chrome script residing in the oddly blank (in this case) raised rocker plate below the rear doors. We already know GAC voted down the idea of using that name in America, for obvious reasons.

This isn’t the first GS8 spotted traipsing through America. Other U.S. GS8s found their way to the internet over the past several months, and this one, like others, attempts to hide its identity with a piece of black tape placed over the center of the badge (fooling exactly no one).

GAC apparently wants its products on sale in America by the end of 2019, but the big question, yet unanswered, is whether the recent U.S.-China trade war impacted those plans in any way. There’s now a 25 percent tariff on Chinese-built vehicles — a tricky situation, given the main appeal of Chinese-built vehicles is perceived affordability. An email query sent to GAC Motor went unanswered.

Despite this, all signs point to go. Last month, GAC invested $4.4 million into an R&D facility in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and the hunt for an appropriate locale for its U.S. headquarters continues.

If you’re wondering what heart beats within this square-rigged beast, think of an American motor, then think a little smaller. Larger engines don’t get a free pass from the Chinese government, so a turbocharged 2.0-liter resides under the GS8’s hood. Power is modest for the vehicle’s size: 198 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.

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2 of 57 comments
  • Whatnext Whatnext on Aug 16, 2018

    Plug ugly, but that doesn't seem to stop most SUV buyers from pulling the trigger on a purchase.

  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Aug 17, 2018

    It could look like a million dollars and I would still rather take my chances in a higher quality car like a Yugo. That said, there are millions of people that don't care about anything but the price and go for it.

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.