DETROIT -- As an escalating trade war with China delays GAC Motor's planned U.S. debut until at least 2020, the automaker is forging ahead with the launch by establishing a regional headquarters in California.
GAC Motor, a division of China's Guangzhou Automobile Group, said Monday it has registered its North American sales operations in Irvine, Calif., near Los Angeles. The site will handle branding, marketing, product planning and financial affairs for the company, which also maintains design studios and r&d operations in the state.
In addition to the expanded West Coast hub, GAC Motor has a growing presence around Detroit. Officials said Monday that a previously announced 50,000-square-foot r&d center in Farmington Hills, Mich., has opened. Engineers at the Michigan site will collaborate with those in California and China as GAC looks to develop a family of sedans, crossovers, SUVs and minivans.
GAC, which operates in 16 countries, introduced a concept crossover, the Entranze, at the show. The three-row vehicle features a voice-controlled user interface that replaces the traditional control panel, two-side mounted displays and a 3-2-2 seating arrangement that features "aisles" inspired by airliners.