GUANGZHOU—Legado Motors Inc., the distributor of GAC vehicles in the Philippines, flew in 2ndopinion.ph for a media plant tour in this sprawling avant garde port city that’s also the capital of Guangdong province early last month. Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC Group) was incorporated in 1997 and makes cars and motorcycles and covers both upstream (vehicle R&D and auto parts) and downstream industries (trade services, finance, insurance, leasing, and logistics for automobile).

Guangzhou Automobile Group Motor Co.,Ltd. (GAC Motor), meanwhile, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GAC Group. Established in 2008, GAC Motor produces and markets world-class vehicles, engines, auto parts, and car accessories as well as conducts R&D of automobile engineering technology.

(pictured above) GAC Motors’ fully automated and robotized manufacturing plant uses ABB and Kuka robots — the same ones used by carmakers from Germany, Italy, England, USA, Japan and Korea. Photos show them welding and installing body panels.

Since its start, GAC Motor has adopted a global vision and adhered to international standards, forming a world-class car manufacturing system with GAC’s global R&D network, world-class production systems, global and supply chains. It has blazed a development path that’s “high-end focused, quality-first and innovation-driven” with its development speed and profit level being among the best for Chinese brands, all in line with the company’s goal of building a world- class brand and a global company.

GAC R&D Center, established in 2006, is GAC Group’s award-winning technology management department and R&D system hub, responsible for implementation of new product and new technology planning and important R&D. GAC R&D Center has built state-of-the-art advanced R&D facilities including 15 types of laboratories covering vehicle, powertrain and new energy, one trial production workshop with welding, painting, general assembly and machine processing, and one automobile test site.

Finished GAC GS8 units prepare to roll off the assembly line

With nearly 4,000 international R&D staff, it also boasts of innovative platforms such as a state-certified enterprise technological center, overseas high-Ievel talents innovation & entrepreneurship center, a post-doctoral research work station and an academician work station. The center files nearly 500 patent applications annually, totaling 3,000 to date, with an invention patent ratio of over 30%. In addition, GAC self-driving vehicles conduct independent autonomous driving in all weather and road conditions.

Supported by GAC Group, GAC Motor will jointly promote cross-boundary innovation of automotive industry with world’ s leading technology enterprises to lay the foundation for automotive ecology, smart transport, and smart cities centered on intelligent driving in the future.

A GAC GS8 model inside the company’s state-of-the-art anechoic chamber

In the Philippines, GAC is a newcomer (imported and distributed by Legado Motors Inc. with a showroom in Shaw Blvd. which opened last November) but already, its most in-demand model now is the GS8 SUV. The GS8 has a 2.0-liter turbo petrol engine developing 198hp and 320Nm, fully independent suspension, and an intelligent four-wheel drive system with six driving modes for any terrain.

This midsize seven-seat SUV has a powerful and muscular stance, with an assertive grill, upscale LED headlights, and generously sized 19-inch wheels. The GS8 has a very unique interior with a wraparound luxury yacht-inspired cockpit. It also has a full-size panoramic sunroof, an intelligent T-BOX remote control security system, 7-inch display, and a Harman Kardon premium infotainment system with no less than 10 speakers.

The spacious and luxurious cabin of the GAC GS8

The GS8 was also named China’s “Safe Vehicle of the Year 2018.” It passed China’s global-standard New Car Assessment program for frontal, offset frontal, side collision, and neck protection tests with an excellent score, earning it a five-star safety rating. Its prices are P1,880,000 (4×2 GE) and P2,388,000 (4×4 GL).

The stylish GAC GM8 luxury minivan is priced at P2,880,000.

The GM8 minivan, on the other hand, also has the GS8’s 2.0-liter turbo petrol engine with a 6-speed automatic. It has a luxurious cockpit with two captain’s chairs fitted with a back massager and cooling system on the second row. It also has an extensive two-side panoramic sunroof with 32-color smart atmospheric lights.

Inside the GAC GM8’s luxurious cabin

It boasts of a majestic and refined exterior that measures more than five meters in length, a luxury yacht-like side profile, as well as aerodynamic matrix LED headlights with horizontal LED taillights.

Inside, it has a dual 10.1-inch rear infotainment system with INJOY intelligent link and an Intelligent T-BOX 3.0 remote control security system. It also has power sliding doors with EasyOpen power tailgate and four-wheel independent suspension. It retails for P2,880,000.

Other GAC models currently available in the Philippines are the GA4 compact and GA8 midsize sedans, whose prices range from P788,000 to P2,288,000, and the GAC GS4 compact SUV, which retails for P1,188,000.

The GAC GA4 compact sedan compact sedan retails for P788,000 (MT) and P988,000 (AT).
The GAC GA8 executive sedan starts at P1,988,000.
The GAC GS4

All GAC models sold locally boast a five-year/100,000km warranty.

Electric future

But it’s not just world-class SUVs and MPVs that GAC is developing. It is also heavily into electric vehicle technology, and is neck-deep in perfecting a Tesla fighter in the Aion S, the world’s first custom-made long-range AI-based EV, which combines five features of long battery life (630 kms.), large passenger and cargo space (thanks to innovative battery and electric motor packaging), high intelligence (autonomous high-speed driving), cutting-edge premium-car styling, and in-depth customization that rivals the most bespoke options of ultra-luxury brands.