If you find yourself in the theater to watch Transformers: Age of Extinction, pay special attention to the scenes set in China between mouthfuls of popcorn because you just might be seeing some of those vehicles on roads in the US in the not-too-distant future. Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd. (GAC) has several of its Trumpchi brand of vehicles in the new action film, and it claims that it's trying to bring them to American consumers as soon as next year.
GAC wants its first model here to be the Trumpchi GS5 SUV (pictured above). In China, it's offered with either a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder with 145 horsepower and 138 pound-feet or a 1.8-liter turbocharged four with 174 horsepower and 175 lb-ft. Buyers can choose from automatic and manual gearboxes, each with five speeds, and front- or all-wheel drive.
"We want to start exporting to the U.S. as quickly as possible and I am confident that they will find our Trumpchi cars competitive," said Trumpchi boss Wu Song to Automotive News China. The company was chosen to appear in the fourth Transformers movie after director Michael Bay spotted the company's E-Jet plug-in hybrid and wanted to put it in the film, Song said.
While it's great to be ambitious, let's be honest. Breaking into the US market isn't an easy task. Just look at the valiant effort that Mahindra put up in its attempt to sell vehicles here. There's little doubt that a Chinese automaker will eventually sell its cars in the US, but the chances that it happens as early as next year are knife-edge slim.