Trumpchi might not make a great car brand in America after all
Despite the off-the-charts synergy (and irony) of a Chinese car manufacturer selling cars in the U.S. under the brand Trumpchi, this potentially hilarious turn of events is not meant to be, according to Reuters. Guangzhou Automobile Group, which has exhibited its wares at a number of major U.S. auto shows over the last few years, is no longer keen on using the name — a slightly altered form of the automaker’s Chinese domestic market name Chuanqi — given recent developments in U.S. politics.
The name Trumpchi had been floated for a couple of years — meant to be a play on the word “legendary” in Mandarin — but it didn’t attract much attention until the 2017 Detroit auto show. Curiously enough, before the election of our current president, the automaker saw no issues with the brand name.
Granted, there is some precedent for car marques being named for presidents: There is Lincoln, of course, and for a short period of time there was Roosevelt, a sub-brand of Marmon. The difference was that they were not sold contemporaneously with the namesakes’ terms in office.
GAC showed off the Trumpchi GA8 sedan in recent months.
Thankfully, the branding strategy might change, given the reception Trumpchi received at the Detroit auto show.
“We saw people were laughing at this and took pictures looking only at this detail and also put it on Facebook or other websites,” GAC design director Zhang Fan told reporters from Reuters. “When we read all that feedback, we realized it might not be very positive promotion for the brand.”
GAC Group president Feng Xingya was similarly taken aback by the reaction of the Detroit auto show visitors.
“At first, I’d never thought of it — why change the name?” Xingya told Reuters. “It’s the president Americans selected, it’s similar to the president’s name, this has to be good, right?” In some quarters, sure, but probably not among folks in the market for a Chinese car.
GAC still plans to enter the U.S. market in 2019 likely under a new name — one disconnected from personalities in current events.
A number of Chinese cars in the 1950s and 1960s got their start from American and Russian designs, but the country is still having trouble advancing its own design language. China has the single …