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 energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

Updated 15 October 2018
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Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

  • Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market
  • Compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil

LONDON: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market and compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil.
He told the CERAWeek energy gathering by IHS Markit in New Delhi that petrol and diesel engines would co-exist with emerging electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for much longer than widely expected.
Miscalculations around the pace of electrification could create “serious” risks around global energy security, he said.
“Conventional vehicles today, despite all the hype, represent 99.8 percent of the global vehicle fleet. That means electric vehicles with 0.2 percent of the fleet, only substitute about 30,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent of a total global oil demand of about 100 million barrels.
“Even if those numbers increase by a factor of 100 over the next couple of decades, they would still remain negligible in the global energy mix.”
He said: “History tells us that orderly energy transformations are a complex phenomenon involving generational time frames as opposed to quick switches that could lead to costly setbacks.”
In another broadside aimed at electric vehicles, the Saudi energy minister highlighted past misconceptions about global energy demand growth — and specifically the notion of “peak oil.”
“I remember thought leaders within the industry telling us that oil demand will peak at 95 million barrels per day. Had we listened to them and not invested . . . imagine the tight spot we would be in today.”
“Let’s also remember that in many parts of the world, roughly three fourths of the electricity, which would also power electric vehicles, is currently generated by coal, including here in India. So you could think of any electric vehicle running in the streets of Delhi as essentially being a coal-powered automobile.”
“When it comes to renewables, the fundamental challenge of battery storage remains unresolved — a factor that is essential to the intermittency issue impacting wind and solar power. Therefore the more realistic narrative and assessment is that electric vehicles and renewables will continue to make technological and economic progress and achieve greater market penetration — but at a relatively gradual rate and as a result, conventional energy will be with us for a long, long time to come.”