What’s in a name? Chinese automaker nixes ‘Trumpchi’

The GAC GA4 is unveiled at the GAC press conference during the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, in this January 15, 2018 photo. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2018
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What’s in a name? Chinese automaker nixes ‘Trumpchi’

DETROIT: Chinese auto maker GAC is changing the name of models it plans to introduce in the US market next year, because “Trumpchi” sounds too much like its linked to President Donald Trump.
“The name will change for the US market to avoid the wrong connotation or misunderstanding,” a GAC spokesman told AFP on Tuesday at the Detroit auto show.
The Trumpchi models have been available in China for years, and the word actually means “legend” in Chinese, the spokesman said.
US media has previously reported that company executives had been deliberating over a name change.
GAC, which sells 500,000 cars in its native country and 13 others in Asia and the Middle East, has long announced plans to be the first Chinese auto maker to enter the US market by the end of 2019.
The company also plans to expand into Europe after trying to woo American consumers.
The cultural dissonance with its chosen brand name is something with which another auto maker can relate.
Tata Motors’ “zippy car” abbreviation Zica was an unfortunate choice in 2016 for its new hatchback sedan, considering it debuted as the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global health emergency.
The Indian company renamed it Tiago after making marketing lemonade out of a public relations lemon by holding an online renaming contest.


Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

Updated 06 March 2019
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Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

  • Diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution
  • Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion

GENEVA: More efficient fuels and more sophisticated combustion engines are needed to bring down carbon dioxide pollution and to secure the long-term future of Saudi Aramco’s business, the company’s chief technology officer said on Wednesday.
“The growth of transport is greater than the growth of alternative drivetrains,” Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, Chief Technology Officer at Saudi Aramco told journalists at the Geneva car show.
The spike in electric car production in Europe will not offset an overall increase in global greenhouse gas emissions as emerging economies industrialize and buy cars with petrol and diesel engines, Al-Khowaiter said.
“Improving combustion engines is key to sustaining our business in the long term,” he said.
While carmakers have rolled out advances in combustion engine technology, the availability of sophisticated fuels has not kept pace, Al-Khowaiter said.
Diesel became an industry standard more than 100 years ago and has remained popular mainly because it did not evaporate quickly, making it safer to handle during storage and refueling.
“Rudolf Diesel did not consider fuels which evaporated easily. That was an accident of history,” Al-Khowaiter said, referring to the German founder of the diesel engine technology.
But diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution, which is blamed for respiratory diseases, forcing the industry to explore ways to cut emissions.
“We can now optimize the fuel and the engine at the same time. And we can bring it to market by adding another fuel pump at the gas station, just like it is done with higher octane fuels,” Al-Khowaiter said.
“We do the patents on the fuel development to enable the engines to be efficient,” the executive said.
Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion, resulting in lower nitrogen oxide and soot emissions and a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The petrochemicals giant is also helping to develop mobile carbon capture technologies which could be built into next generation passenger cars for around $1,400 per vehicle, and help to cut carbon dioxide emissions.