At the upcoming NADA convention in Las Vegas, you can expect to find the Trumpchi GS8 nestled in a corner of the North convention hall, just past the booth for Two Hats Ranch.
Don't be fooled by its modest surroundings.
China's Guangzhou Automobile Group is recruiting dealers to start selling this seven-seat crossover in 2019.
Whether it meets that target, the state-owned automaker has prepared meticulously for its U.S. launch. The company has set up a Silicon Valley technical center and plans to open a second r&d unit, in Detroit.
GAC also has conducted consumer research in the U.S. to measure demand for the GS8, its first U.S.-bound model. Which is why the company has a good chance to establish itself as America's newest "value" brand, says Michael Dunne, president of consulting firm Dunne Automotive Group, who has been advising GAC.
"Their quality is solid, they've adopted Japanese manufacturing systems, and they are profitable," said Dunne, who has studied China's auto industry for decades. "It's only a question of time."
To decode the U.S. market, GAC President Yu Jun is counting on two influential allies.
The first is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who, during a press conference at the Detroit auto show, offered to help GAC.
The companies already have a profitable venture in China, where they produce and sell Jeeps.
Marchionne did not make a public commitment, but Yu's management team held meetings at FCA's North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., last week before returning to China.