China is entering the hybrid automotive field with a new brand called Qoros. The name may sound like a planet from Star Trek, but it’s actually a joint venture between Chery Automotive, one of China’s largest car companies, and Israel Corporation, an industrial holding company. Qoros plans to debut an all-new hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
“We are a new company without any legacy or previous history, which gives us a great advantage because we are starting from scratch with a clean sheet of paper,” Qoros vice chairman Volker Steinwascher said in a press release at the brand’s launch, making his company sound a little like China’s version of Tesla Motors.
So far, though, Qoros isn’t offering a midsize luxury sedan with the accelerative ferocity of a BMW M5. The company’s first car will be the GQ3, a C-segment (compact sedan), which kind of looks like a Chrysler 200 with the front end from a Scion tC.
A second Qoros model, the Cross Hybrid Concept, will debut alongside the GQ3 at Geneva. According to the China Daily, its gasoline engine will power the front wheels, while an electric will power the rear wheels.
Interestingly, the Cross Hybrid Concept will be able to switch between front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive; most cars with a rear-mounted electric motor start out with all-wheel drive and de-power the rear axle when the electricity runs out. The concept was designed by Gert Volker Hildebrand, who led the redesign of the Mini.
Details on the new hybrid will be revealed at Geneva, but Qoros is saying that it will have a state of the art infotainment system. An eight-inch touchscreen will perform typical functions like controlling audio and navigation functions, and the system will have Cloud and social media connectivity.
Qoros will also offer concierge services, including traffic information, point of interest search capability, and an automatic emergency services alert (think OnStar). Qoros plans to make infotainment standard on all models.
The hybrid crossover and GQ3 sedan and wagon will be built in a new factory in Changshu, China. The conventional GQ3 sedan and wagon are set to go on sale in China in mid-2013, with a production version of the Cross Hybrid Concept scheduled for a 2014 launch.
Qoros has no plans to sell its cars in the United States. It’s targeting young urban professionals in China and Europe instead.