Chinese Trumpchi car brand faces name change before US sales

GAC Motor plans to begin selling cars in the United States in 2019.

The moment had to come: Guangzhou Automotive Group, or GAC Motor, is considering renaming its Trumpchi brand before it starts to sell cars in America in 2019. The reason is obvious, as the brand name GAC Motor has chosen doesn't necessarily sit well with all prospective customers.

The reasoning behind the Trumpchi name has to do with the romanization of a Chinese brand name GAC Motor had begun using, "Chuanqi". That name, loosely translated, means "legendary" in Chinese, and it's something the automaker wanted to convey in a more easily pronounced way, choosing "trump" for, well, trumping the competitors. They tacked on the "chi" ending to stand for China. Dissected, it makes sense, but as the Trump presidency has turned out to be far more topical than the Chinese brand would desire, the name has to go.

Talking to Reuters at the Shanghai auto show, GAC Group's President Feng Xingya said, "This is a complete coincidence, we didn't even have the slightest idea he would be president."

"At first I'd never thought of it, why change the name? It's the president Americans selected, it's similar to the president's name, this has to be good right?" Feng added. "But in the United States the level of opposition (to Trump) is high," quotes Reuters.

"We saw people were laughing at this and took pictures looking only at this detail, and also put on Facebook or other websites," GAC Motor Design Director Zhang Fan says. "When we read all that feedback, we realized it might not be very positive promotion for the brand."

Originally, GAC Motor planned to start car sales in the United States next year, but those plans have been slightly delayed as the cars need to meet all applicable US market regulations. Earlier Trumpchi cars have included the GA5 model based on the Alfa Romeo 166 platform, pictured above.

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