3 new Chinese SUVs coming to South Africa – what to expect

 ·28 Apr 2024

Chinese automaker GAC Motor confirmed that it will launch three new vehicles in South Africa in the near future.

GAC Motor said that it will introduce its Emkoo and Emzoom SUVs to local roads before the end of 2024, followed soon after by the all-electric Aion Y.

In January this year, GAC Motor announced its partnership with the Salvador Caetano Group to enter the South African market, becoming the latest Chinese brand to do so.

Leslie Ramsoomar, Managing Director of Salvador Caetano South Africa, believes that this market holds immense potential for GAC Motor, positioning it strategically as a gateway to the broader African continent.

The company plans to expand its dealer network across the country and is currently considering potential franchise opportunities.


The Emzoom is designed as GAC’s introductory-level crossover SUV.

The range features a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine that generates 130kW and 270Nm of torque, combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Fuel consumption is estimated at 5.9l/100km.

Depending on the model, the Emzoom includes:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels,
  • All-round LED lighting,
  • A 10.25-inch infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,
  • A 7-inch digital driver’s cockpit,
  • Leather upholstery and electric seats,
  • 360-degree cameras, cruise control, rear parking sensors, and hill-start assist.

The Emzoom is approximately 4,410mm long, 1,850mm wide, and 1,600mm tall, which is almost the same as the highly popular Toyota Corolla Cross.


The Emkoo is GAC’s mid-size SUV; offering two powertrain options.

It comes with a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine that generates 177kW and 270Nm, paired with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. This configuration reports a fuel usage of 6.2l/100km.

The other option is a hybrid model that combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine, generating 138kW and 180Nm, with an electric motor that delivers 134kW and 300Nm of torque, consuming 4.8l/100km.

Other features to expect include:

  • Keyless entry and start,
  • Ventilated front seats,
  • A 10.1-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster.
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Aion Y

GAC currently only offers one electric vehicle (EV), which is the Aion Y. It is expected to arrive on South African roads after the Emkoo and Emzoom.

The Aion Y has an output of 100kW and 225Nm and comes with a 63.2kWh battery pack, which allows for a driving range of 490km when calculated with the optimistic NEDC standard.

The GAC EV comes equipped with a wide range of amenities such as:

  • Keyless entry and start,
  • A 14.6-inch infotainment hub and a 10.25-inch driver’s display,
  • Climate control with rear-seat vents,
  • A microfibre leather steering wheel, PVC leather-trimmed seats, an electric driver’s chair,
  • A panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting, cruise control, and a 360-degree camera system.

Read: Another Chinese bakkie is launching in South Africa soon

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