Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) and WTC Automotif (WTCA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Warisan TC Holdings (a Tan Chong Group company) today announced a CKD local assembly programme worth over RM60 million. This is GAC’s first CKD programme in the ASEAN region.
Not many might remember, but before the current wave of Chinese OEMs, GAC made a relatively quiet entry into Malaysia with the GS3 SUV. Back in late 2021, the GS3 was a CBU unit converted to right-hand drive (with a fair bit of effort, 130 changes involved in GAC’s first RHD car) and future CKD was mentioned. Now, here we are.
The GAC CKD project will see WTCA invest over RM60 million, which will go to the manufacturing of “the brand new GAC Motor GS3 model” and setting up a nationwide presence for the brand. Part of the total sum will be used for model-specific investments such as tools and upgrades to Tan Chong’s Segambut plant in KL, which will produce the GS3.
UPDATE: According to Warisan TC CEO Tan Keng Meng, CKD production is scheduled to begin in April 2024, with sales starting in mid-2024.
The Guangzhou-based brand is bullish on our market, with GAC Group VP and GAC International chairman Yu Jun saying that “we will be expecting that with three to five years development, the production and sales will reach 50,000 units”.
To achieve this, GAC will “coordinate internal and external resources, increase support for the Malaysian market, accelerate the launch of key models, improve the model matrix and provide more intelligent and higher quality products local consumers,” he said.
As for the network, WTCA plans to set up over 70 showrooms across Malaysia. The first, flagship showroom is at Section 13 Petaling Jaya, near Jaya 33 and just behind the Renault showroom. This outlet will be ready in Q3 this year.
“Over the next five years, WTCA will introduce an attractive and comprehensive inventory of right-hand drive GAC Motor models, including SUV, sedan and MPV. In addition, all-new global GAC Motor models will be simultaneously developed for both right- and left-hand drives, ensuring that Malaysian consumers receive the latest models at the same rate as other global consumers,” WTCA said in a statement.
We move on to the CKD product, which is the the new GS3 that sports a much sharper and more contemporary look compared to the CBU GS3 that debut here in in 2021. WTCA says that the new GS3 will have a 1.5 litre turbo engine, a seven-speed DCT and ‘segment-leading torque’ of 270 Nm at 1,400 to 4,500 rpm. The B-SUV will also have Level 2 ADAS. Further details will be released later; no timeline was shared at today’s event.
Lastly, WTCA handed over 25 units of the current GAC GS3 to Mayflower Car Rental today. The Tan Chong Group car rental company ordered a fleet of 50 GS3 units from WTCA. Mayflower will be introducing the “All-New Adventure” leasing programme featuring the GS3, which will be available for rental from RM150 per day. What do you think of the GAC GS3, old and new?
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