Qoros of China takes European path to sell cars at home

Independent Chinese automaker Qoros wants to seduce European drivers in a bid to sell more of its cars back home, it said Wednesday at the Geneva Motor Show.

"It's always helpful if you have some connection with Europe," to spur auto sales back in China, Qoros Vice-Chairman Volker Steinwzsher told AFP.

Christiano Carlutti, who heads Qoros' sales team in Europe and the Middle East, agreed.

"Chinese clients really like European brands, so it is important to be successful in the European market when it comes to credibility," he said.

Founded in 2007 by the Chinese giant Chery and venture capitalist Israel Corporation, Qoros is presenting its Qoros 3 compact sedan for the first time at the Geneva show, which kicked off on Tuesday for the media and will open to the public on Thursday.

With a leather interior, open top, metallic paint and touch-screen dashboard, it was clearly inspired by high-end German autos.

On the showroom floor, the Qoros 3 was also flanked by two concept cars to show how it is expected to evolve, with a new model due every six to eight months.

The sedan is set to go on sale in the second half of the year in China and in a small test market in Eastern Europe, and should reach dealerships in Western Europe in 2014 or 2015, with prices circling around the 18,000-euro ($23,500) mark.

Despite the downturn in Europe, Carlutti insisted this was the perfect time to start making a name for Qoros on the continent, since "European customers are searching for value and content, (at) a competitive price."

Qoros has nonetheless remained vague in terms of its ambitions.

It will not say which European countries it aims to market its sedan in and has also stayed mum on sales targets and the kind of customers its targeting.