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A manufacturer launches the “iCar”

Limited to the Chinese market, the iCar brand was born last year and has just marketed its first model. The parent company is now thinking of exporting to Europe, with a Spanish production site.

Despite Apple’s abandonment of Project Titan, for the launch of a self-driving car before 2030, there really is an “iCar” in the automotive industry. Since last year, the Chinese manufacturer Chery has launched the young eponymous brand to offer three electric models. They are all sold exclusively in China, but a production site could be set up in Europe.

The iCar is therefore not signed by Apple, but by Chery. This Chinese manufacturer, launched in 1997 and based in Wuhu in Anhui province, is a state-owned company, therefore 100% owned by the People’s Republic of China. It’s not widely known in Europe, but it remains particularly important for brands like Jaguar and Land Rover, which have signed a joint venture to sell their models in China.

In return, Land Rover became a source of stylistic inspiration for the iCar, which did not shy away from copying the lines of the Defender for its iCar 03. It’s not certain that the British company owned by the Geely group will appreciate it, while the iCar 03 is the main contender for production in Europe, and the Land Rover does not have a 100% electric model.

However, Chery is not expected to export the “iCar” brand. In Malaysia, the iCar’s first overseas market, the Defender-like electric SUV appeared under the name Jaecoo J6. That’s what it’s expected to be called in Europe, while Chery also plans to launch two more international brands, called Omoda and Exlantix.

But like a phoenix, “iCar” will always rise from the ashes. In the past, Chery has already launched models with this name. In 2007 it was a pickup truck, then a sedan in 2014. It is from 2017 that the project to launch an ecosystem will be born. Obviously, the parent company has been challenged by this name with a connotation close to that popularized by Apple products.

The “i” here would evoke intelligence, the Internet, innovation, inspiration, and information, the brand described last year. No mention of the iPhone, nor of the Titan project that was supposed to lead to the Apple Car by the end of the decade. However, with such a name Chery could have a conflict with Apple, hence the fact that the brand is already exporting under another identity.

Meanwhile, the pace of iCar rollout in China is not going to slow down after the new 03. According to Zhang Hongyu, head of the state-owned company, 2 to 3 new versions should be released every year, and up to 3 or 4 in 2025.

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