There’s a car with a fish tank at the Detroit auto show. No, it’s not from this hemisphere. No, it’s not for sale. It will never be for sale. But there’s a damn fish tank, in a car, at the Detroit auto show, and we wanted to show it to you, so here it is.
Of course, it’s not a real car, but rather an autonomous concept car called the Witstar made by ambitious Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automotive Group, Co (GAC). GAC is using the fishbowl car as bait (now there’s some irony) to lure show-goers to its modest display in the hallway at Cobo Hall. GAC’s real reason to be here is to shop for a corporate suitor with which it can partner to bring its production specimens to U.S. customers, hopefully by 2017.
The vehicle GAC intends to lead the charge in the U.S. is the GAC Trumpchi GS4 compact crossover, which is making its world debut in Detroit and poised to go on sale in China in April. Looking only a bit less like a Chinese knock-off of a Range Rover Evoque than this knockoff of the Range Rover Evoque, the matte gold and black GS4 is reasonably handsome and nicely proportioned, if a bit contrived in the details. Equally significant is its relatively impressive level of execution by Chinese car standards—think of where Kia was about 10 years ago—and according to GAC, it was developed using American safety standards. In China, the GS4 is powered by a 1.3- or 1.5-liter turbocharged engines mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, though if it was to be sold here, GAC executives admit that it they would like it to have more powerful engines. So would we.
We learned little else about the GS4 other than what we could tell by poking around it, but should GAC get lucky and find a viable distribution partner to put a ring on it within the next two years, the fact that the GS4 seems, well, not terrible is mildly reassuring.