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The Latest: China’s GAC on track to enter US late in 2019

January 15, 2018

DETROIT (AP) — The Latest on the Detroit auto show (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Chinese automaker GAC Motor says it’s on track to enter the U.S. market in the fourth quarter of next year.

Company officials made the statement Monday as they introduced two models at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that likely will come to the U.S.

At a packed press conference, GAC showed off a concept gull-wing compact electric SUV called the Enverge that one day could be produced. The automaker says it will go over 370 miles on a single charge. Also unveiled was the GA4 midsize sedan that will go on sale in China later this month.

GAC sold just over 500,000 automobiles in China last year, up 37 percent from 2016.

The company says it is negotiating with partner Fiat Chrysler about possible distribution of vehicles. It already has a research center in Silicon Valley and is working on another one in Detroit as well as a Los Angeles design center.

A spokeswoman says the company’s first vehicle in the U.S. will be the GS8, an SUV. It showed video of seven different models during its presentation.

GAC, which stands for Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., also plans to enter other global markets after the U.S., including Europe.

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12 p.m.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he’ll step down next year after leading the combined company since 2009.

Marchionne, 65, told media at the Detroit auto show that FCA will release a business plan through 2022 around June. The company will announce his successor sometime after that.

Candidates include Mike Manley, who leads the company’s Ram and Jeep brands, and Reid Bigland, who leads the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands and U.S. sales.

Marchionne also said the U.S. tax cuts passed in December are worth $1 billion annually to FCA and give the company confidence about the economic future.

FCA said last week it was moving heavy duty truck production from Mexico to Michigan and paying $2,000 bonuses to U.S. employees as a result of the tax cuts.

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