GAC is yet another Chinese carmaker coming to Australia with serious volume aspirations, with plans to offer a range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models across various segments.

    And while it’s not gunning for the top spot, it plans to be a top 10 player here by 2030.

    CarExpert first reported in early 2023 that GAC’s Aion electric vehicle (EV) brand was coming to Australia.

    Now, AGA Auto – appointed GAC’s Australian distributor in 2022 – has confirmed GAC’s core brand is also coming here.

    Known as Trumpchi in China but GAC everywhere else, the core brand offers a range of petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, some of which use hybrid systems from Toyota with which GAC has a joint venture.

    The plan is for GAC and Aion vehicles to arrive here in the second half of 2025.

    “Most likely [they’ll] be sold under the same roof,” said Charles Lau, chief operating officer of AGA Auto.

    “[GAC] also understand the difficulties of trying to launch a brand with just one model, when it’s not really sufficient to sustain a dealership network.”

    He noted it’s still to be confirmed whether Aion vehicles will be badged as GACs.

    “The manufacturer obviously has the final say in that particular side of things,” said Mr Lau.

    As with other Chinese brands like BYD and Chery, GAC is looking to become a major player in Australia.

    “We’re not exactly looking to be coming into the market with a very, very aspirational target,” said Mr Lau.

    “In reality, we want to be in the top 10 within the next three to five years.”

    He says this would work out to be around 30-40,000 annual sales, though notably the 10th best-selling brand in Australia last year – Isuzu Ute – sold 45,341 vehicles.

    This target encompasses sales across both the GAC and Aion brands.

    He said there’s an increasing appetite from GAC to tackle the Australian market, with a renewed focus from head office on right-hand drive production. This includes building a plant in Thailand to build Aion EVs.

    Currently, the core GAC brand has only one right-hand drive vehicle, the GS3 hatchback, which is understood to be off the table for our market.

    AGA Auto’s relationship with GAC isn’t exclusive, leaving open the possibility of it bringing products from other carmakers to our market.


    GAC’s lineup is set to launch with a people mover, perhaps an unusual choice given the size of that segment in Australia.

    In China, however, people movers are much more popular, and are often used for executive transport.

    “One of the things that [GAC] has asked us to do is do an assessment of MPVs,” said Mr Lau, adding there’s an opportunity for a well-appointed people mover to take on the likes of the Kia Carnival and suggesting these vehicles can serve as halo models for new brands.

    “The right-hand drives that are currently in consideration and development are the [current, petrol and hybrid] M8 people mover and the GS8 four-wheel drive, and their plug-in hybrid cousins [the E9 and ES9].

    “They are under very serious assessment [for right-hand drive] at the moment.”

    The M8 and E9 would serve as rivals to the likes of the aforementioned Carnival and LDV MIFA, while the three-row GS8 and ES9 unibody SUVs would battle rivals like the Hyundai Palisade and Toyota Kluger.

    GAC is currently phasing out its GS-badged models in favour of more sharply styled new-generation product like the Hyundai i30-rivalling Empow sedan and Toyota RAV4-rivalling Emkoo crossover.

    “One of the ones that I do like is the Emkoo, which is like a RAV4-sized SUV,” he said, adding it still hasn’t been confirmed for right-hand drive.


    The Aion lineup is set to launch with a new, as-yet unseen electric hatchback to rival the MG 4, plus a mid-sized electric SUV.

    “The V… the new second generation is being launched, so that would likely be one of the first models coming, alongside an Aion hatchback which has not yet been released or sold anywhere yet,” said Mr Lau.

    More upmarket models are also planned.

    “The [Aion] Hyper HT is being launched in July this year as a right-hand drive in Thailand, so that will be on the cards for an assessment for the Australian market,” said Mr Lau, noting it’s “heavily” on the cards.

    Even the SSR electric supercar is shaping as a possibility.

    “The SSR is something that they’ve actually considered doing a batch of right-hand drive in limited [production],” he said.

    “Since launching in Thailand, they have received a lot of interest on the SSR, and obviously they’re right-hand drive which means we may be able to see some as well.”

    The Aion range will initially start with just one or two models, however.

    “We hope that the hatchback is available, we hope that the new Aion V is available, and also the Hyper HT to be sold alongside on launch, in a perfect world,” said Mr Lau.

    “In an imperfect world, it will probably be that say the first six months of our launch, we have maybe the V or the hatchback on sale, and within the six months of the launch we have a second model turn up.

    “But our expectations are we would want to have two on launch.”

    While he said it was too early to confirm pricing, Mr Lau said Aion EVs won’t be the cheapest EVs on the market.

    “That’s not what we are here for,” he said.

    How the cars will be sold

    The focus will initially be on major metropolitan areas like Sydney.

    “We’ve kept all of our options open, however the one that does stand out to us at the moment is the hybrid agency model,” said Mr Lau, confirming the company wants to have more control over how vehicles are sold to ensure a consistent – and excellent – customer experience.

    This would see dealers sign up for a GAC franchise but not have to buy the stock, while customers would pay the same price whichever GAC dealership they go to.

    “I think it does help with a lot of dealers, currently on the traditional model whereby their floorplan and inventory costs have now gone through the roof,” said Mr Lau.

    “The fact that they don’t have to keep stock is in theory going to reduce their operating costs for running a dealership.

    “One of the things that we’re looking at is that we also want our brands to be represented in every location the way we want to build our brand image.

    “To ensure we do that, it has to be a two-way street. Our retail network that ends up being a part of us will need to invest perhaps more than what they would expect from other brands they end up adding.”

    GAC vehicles will be sold through showrooms, but there are also plans for flagship studios as well as delivery centres.

    The company is also looking to utilise a third party to increase servicing coverage, similar to the arrangement BYD has with mycar.

    “Having only a dealer network to service your cars is a double-edged sword,” said Mr Lau.

    “If you don’t have enough dealers, you don’t have enough service locations, therefore you’re limiting yourself to coverage for your own customers.”

    He said he wants customers to have an emotional attachment to the brand, which will “be driven by customer experience and satisfaction”.

    To that end, there’s a key focus on parts availability, with plans for a large distribution centre for parts.

    Mr Lau said battery recycling is also on the company’s radar, given old batteries that no longer offer enough charge for an EV can still be repurposed for other applications like powering homes.

    “We may use a partnership to transport them safely into our locations for repurposing or recycling,” he said.

    “We’re not here to market ourselves as the green warriors. [EVs] are not completely green, they still produce and cost more emissions and materials to produce than a gas-powered car.

    “However, from an ownership perspective, we want to be able to still do our part… Currently, that battery recycling from what we understand has a very, very large potential to ensure that the wastage is minimised.”

    MORE: Brand profile: China’s Aion

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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