New start-up brand Qoros displays saloon, estate and crossover models at the Geneva motor show
15 February 2013

Israeli-Chinese start-up brand Qoros has shown its first three new models at the Geneva motor show

The Qoros 3 saloon will be the first to go into production later this year, followed by an estate and crossover which are all based on the same brand-new platform. The three models will have the option of all-new three-cylinder and four-cylinder petrol engines, as well as a clever hybrid drivetrain. 

Virtually all of the engineering and development work on the cars has been carried out by international consultancies, with Austria’s Magna Steyr being one of the biggest players. The Qoros management team is also multinational, with many senior bosses from companies including Volvo, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Saab.

Just over 4.6 metres long and 1.84 metres wide, with a 2690mm wheelbase, the Qoros 3 saloon sits in the same market slot as the Volkswagen Jetta. China’s C-segment saloon market is worth seven million sales per year and Qoros buyers are expected to be 25-35 year olds living in the great metropolitan areas, says sales and marketing boss Stefano Villanti. 

Although the cars will be exported, the US market is not on the agenda and right-hand-drive versions are still being mulled over by management. A bigger, Passat-sized car is on the drawing board, along with a proper SUV. Qoros is aiming for a five-star EuroNCAP rating for its cars.

Qoros aims to shift around 150,000 cars per year within two years of starting production and its new factory (100 miles north of Shanghai and run by an ex-BMW boss) is in the final stages of completion. At full tilt, the factory has a capacity of 250,000 units per year and Qoros is aiming to sell 450,000 units per year in the longer term.

Cleverly, the Qoros 3 Estate Concept (which aimed primarily at Europe) uses the same rear lights and bumper as the saloon and has a 500-litre boot (50 more than the four-door).

Most striking of the three is the Qoros 3 Cross hatchback, which gets a unique rear end and much more stylish front and rear bumper treatments. The driver sits 80mm higher than in the estate (20mm in the seating position and 60mm in the ride height) and it has a shorter rear overhang. 

Inside, the Qoros has got both a smartphone dock (95 per cent of buyers will be smartphone users, says the company) and an eight-inch touchscreen. Its operating system is operated by two-finger swipes, in just four directions. 

Under the skin, these first three Qoros models are quietly conventional, aside from the hybrid. The platform is suspended on MacPherson struts and a beam axle at the rear. 

There are two ranges of petrol engines, with three cylinders or four. The 1.6-litre four-pot unit makes 124bhp/114lb ft in normally aspirated form and 156bhp/155lb ft in turbocharged guise. 

More intriguing is a pair of three-pot turbo petrol engines. The 1.2 develops 124bhp and the 1.4 makes 156bhp. Stop-start will be fitted to European versions and there’s a choice of a six-speed manual Getrag gearbox or a seven-speed DSG. At the moment, diesel engines are not on the menu and their introduction is dependent on the state of future European sales.

The technical highlight of the range is a hybrid 4x4 transmission, which uses a 67bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. It is matched up to the 1.2-litre triple, which gets an integrated starter/generator to charge the 1.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Qoros is estimating a 0-62mph time of under seven seconds, a three-mile range on pure battery power and 56.5mpg, as well as on-demand all-wheel drive. The system was being developed by American Axle and Saab, and was intended to be used on the all-new 9-3 replacement. After Saab collapsed, Qoros bought the technology.

Design boss Gert Hildebrand (who was previously the BMW Mini design chief) says the Qoros design language is “solid and timeless, with no purely fashion elements and no gimmicks so that it leaves a strong impression. As a new Chinese brand, it is important that our cars communicate solid design and engineering and a sense that Qoros is here to last. I say we are building future history”.

Qoros was created as a 50/50 joint venture between Chinese car maker Chery and giant investment company Israel Corporation. Chery wanted to create a new company and marque that could produce cars built to meet European safety and quality standards, something Chinese companies are finding it difficult to achieve solo.

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Comments
11

15 February 2013

So they might be considering RHD.  Which means no then ... as they have clearly already designed and engineered the cars.  I know the UK and Ireland are only a new car market of 1,500,000 sales a year (plus at least 500,000 pre-registrations) but for cars like these you would have thought it would have been worth the extra few hundred design RM.

While I still think the saloon is a bit ugly, the estate and crossover look alright.  The 3 pot engines are bang on the money and the interior is distinctive enough (although they should ditch the faux Evoque wheel, I think it looks awful in the posh freelander and looks awful in this) and equipped enough for this car to be considered by anyone looking mid market (Golf, Focus etc).  

But ignoring the UK again .... school boy error.  

15 February 2013

Cheltenhamshire wrote:

But ignoring the UK again .... school boy error.  

Arguably not as big an error as Proton who avoid the LHD market and therefore don't sell in the most of Europe.

15 February 2013

Even just from the pics and tech report this is a deeply impressive first effort.  It will be good to see the road test on it when it finally hits Europe.

The Crossover does appear to be the most interesting.  For some reason it reminds me of the Dodge Caliber but I guess it will be a whole heap better than that....  errr..... heap!  Looks like the Peugeot 3008 is it's closest spiritual competitor.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

15 February 2013

The UK might be a market for the SUV, given the current craze. However buyers here are too snobby to buy a cheap saloon.

Ireland is a bigger saloon car market, though a smaller population overall.

The big RHD markets for saloon cars that they are missing are Australia, New Zealand and India. The type of markets where Japanese cars did well.

15 February 2013

sounds to me like Hilton has been seduced by the PR hype. So the three cylinder and four cylinder engines have the same output? So, er, what's the point of that? This is a totally uncritical puff piece not worthy of Autocar. The cars may be fantastic for all I know - or for all that Hilton knows - but a "beam axle" doesn't sound very exciting. What's the price point - surely the first question a decent journo would ask.......

15 February 2013

I don't feel disappointed that I can't get one of these in right hand drive.  I see what you mean with the Dodge Caliber  likeness .  Good to see there are still some people out there with money to invest how much would this little venture cost!  I bet none of the top guys are driving around in their creation.

15 February 2013

I think the UK has always been a big market for new budget entrants even though we are also a good territory for premium brands. That said with brands like Daihatsu leaving and Proton and Subaru having only a token presence things may be changing.

I think these cars look promising as they have a VW like solidity in their design, so if they were priced say 10% below the price of a comparable Skoda then they would do very well.  

 

15 February 2013

I find it completely inoffensive and I think the estate (I don't do saloons) deserves to do well. Except for the lack of a Diesel, it ticks all the boxes in terms of looks, equipment, transmission.

If I were a mainstream maker of this type of cars, I would be very worried. It's probably just as well that Fiat / Lancia has nothing to offer in the segment above the Bravo/Delta/Giulietta.

15 February 2013

Well it hasnt taken the Chinese long to catch up - another nail in the French manufacturers coffin then?

All Qoros need to do is get rid of that cheap scratchy looking dash top, come up with some sensible prices, give it a long warranty and they will be onto a winner.

15 February 2013

Ookkaayy...

A 3-car launch is ambitious for any brand.

It will be more so for this Israeli/Chinese upstart.

I'll be watching with interest how this cookie crumbles.

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