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GAC, citing trade frictions, postpones U.S. sales launch
Bloomberg | 2019/5/24

Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. is putting the brakes on plans to become the first manufacturer to start selling Chinese-branded cars in the U.S., citing the trade dispute between the world¡¯s two biggest economies.

GAC Motor, as the company is known, aimed to sell cars in America in early 2020 but is now postponing that target as tariffs threaten to make light-vehicle imports from China more expensive. The company cited ¡°the escalation of China-U.S. trade frictions¡± and distribution ¡°uncertainties¡± in a statement on Wednesday.

The company announced several years ago it intended to become the first Chinese automaker to crack the U.S. market, and has been working on product modifications to appeal to American tastes. The company has made changes to the GS8, a seven-passenger crossover sold in China, to meet more-stringent U.S. emissions and crash standards.

Many Chinese automakers have had ambitions to sell cars and light trucks in the U.S. going back more than a decade, yet none of the plans have come to fruition so far. GAC, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.¡¯s Lynk & CO. brand, Great Wall Motor Co. and Zotye Automobile Co. are among Chinese manufacturers that have expressed interest to expand in the U.S., exhibiting in the country¡¯s auto shows and setting up local sales units and r&d operations.

Great Wall, an SUV maker that has been reviewing options for how to build vehicles in the U.S., said it had no immediate comment on whether it is adjusting its plans for America. BYD Co., which makes electric buses in the U.S., said it has no immediate information on whether its business has been impacted by the trade row.

Geely, which has been aiming to start selling Lynk & CO. cars in the U.S. next year, is evaluating its plan for North America, a spokesman said.

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