Qoros, the Chinese start-up brand, will unveil a teaser SUV concept at next week’s Shanghai motor show. It will be based on the same all-new platform that underpins the Qoros 3 saloon and hatchback and is expected to go on sale at the end of the year.
However, while the concept’s more extravagant styling is unlikely to feed directly through to the showroom, it will give clues as to the next generation of Qoros models.
Like its production sister cars, the showroom version of the SUV is likely to achieve five stars in the Euro NCAP laboratory crash tests.
The new model, which is currently undergoing final testing, will also be one of the first models to get the company’s new 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Despite the warm welcome that Qoros’s models have received in the local press, sales at the new brand have been extremely poor. It’s thought that just 7000 Qoros cars found a home in 2014, with 2015 sales running at a similar rate.
In February, the company hired Paul Murtaugh as CEO to try to turn around Qoros’s fortunes. Murtaugh was previously President in GM China and spent 16 years in the country.
Speaking to Autocar at the recent Geneva motor show, Murtaugh said Chinese brands had “suffered at the hands of ‘international’ brands”. In 2014 only 38% of the 19 million new car sales were of domestic brand models.
“Qoros is ahead of typical Chinese brands on every measure, but we have to convince Chinese buyers that’s the case," Murtaugh said "If buyers go for a foreign brand, there’s a sense that they don’t have to worry."
In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Murtaugh was quoted as saying the Qoros dealer network needed to expand from 75 to around 150 and be placed in areas with high levels of ‘auto-shopping’.
He was also quoted as saying that Qoros’s costs would have to be cut, citing the high number of ‘ex-pats’ at the company. When the Qoros brand was launched, it hired a significant number of senior people from Saab, Volvo, Volkswagen and BMW.