November 13, 2014, 2:50 AM
If the brand name Qoros is unfamiliar, that's understandable. The Chinese automaker entered the European market about a year ago, with a compact sedan called the Q3, and even there it's barely a blip on anybody's radar.
In fact, it's a relative newcomer even to the Chinese market, the company being formed only in 2007 and beginning sales there in 2013.
Now it's about to make its first tentative appearance in North America, not with an actual car but with an entry in the Los Angeles Auto Show's annual Design Challenge for automakers.
The competition's brief for 2014 challenges international automotive design teams to explore how technology will transform vehicles to connect with human senses in the year 2029.
Qoros's entry, the ‘Q: QorosQloud Qubed’, conceives of an intelligent, multi-dimensional personal management assistant that will learn from the driver over a period of time through the five senses.
The dynamics of the vehicle/driver relationship are said to be modelled in much the same way as a human relationship, developing and growing over time.
The Q is designed to learn the user’s tastes, favourite restaurants, music preferences, regular destinations, friends, family and general interests, with that knowledge building throughout the ownership period and Q learning more every day.
For example, it is designed to maximize safety by identifying when the user is distracted or driving irresponsibly, quickly switching to an autonomous driving mode.
Qoros, the company is well funded. It is an equal partnership between Chery Automobile, China’s largest independent automaker, and Israel Corporation, a global industrial holding company, which is controlled by London-based Israeli billionaire, Idan Ofer.
Said to be a fresh, new brand without a legacy, the company employs a strong international team of designers, engineers and marketers whose long-term focus seems to be on products with broad international appeal, incorporating state-of-the-art technology.
An all-new production facility in China's Changshu district has an annual production capacity of 150,000 units, with potential to increase to 450,000.
So don't be surprised if the Qoros brand becomes much more prominent on this continent in the years to come. The LA Design Challenge is just the first tentative toe in the water, in advance of taking the plunge.
New powertrain combination poses interesting decision for F-150 buyers
Hyundai’s all-new Ioniq comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric flavours
The Bolt is a real, practical, fun-to-drive car with a few welcome surprises