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The GAC GS3 subcompact SUV will be priced below P900,000

At least for the entry-level variant with a normally aspirated engine

The upcoming GAC GS3 is an interesting addition to the subcompact-crossover market. PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

And the Chinese cars keep coming.

With Geely recently introducing the much-talked-about Coolray subcompact crossover in our market, it is perfectly normal to expect similar products to come pouring in from the Chinese floodgates. The next one to arrive is the GAC GS3, also a small SUV. On October 15, GAC Motor Philippines will be launching the GS3, and it will compete directly not just with the Coolray but also with the likes of the MG ZS, the Suzuki Vitara, the Hyundai Kona and the Ford EcoSport.

The GS3 measures 4,350mm long, 1,825mm wide and 1,655mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,560mm—making it a wee bit larger than the Coolray. It will be sold in our market in two variants: the 150N (1.5-liter four-cylinder normally aspirated gasoline engine rated at 113hp and 150Nm) and the 200T (1.3-liter four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine rated at 136hp and 202Nm). Both variants are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission, and both will reportedly comply with Euro 5 emissions standards.

These are the top 200T variant. The base one doesn’t have fog lights. Do you like the styling? PHOTO BY BOTCHI SANTOS

The best part, of course, is the pricing. According to a source from the distributor, the base variant will be priced at less than P900,000, clearly undercutting Geely and its entry-level Coolray (P978,000). Our informant refuses to reveal the price of the turbocharged GS3, but we have a feeling it will be equally competitive.

And so the price war among Chinese subcompact SUVs has begun. Is this ultimately a good thing for the Philippine car industry? Discuss.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.