GAC’s new R&D facility in Michigan Area

After announcing plans to enter the U.S. market in 2019 by unveiling an SUV and sedan at this year’s Detroit auto show, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. will open a research and development facility in Southeast Michigan.

The Chinese automaker, known as GAC, plans to invest up to $4.45 million and create 62 jobs in Farmington Hills, Gov. Rick Snyder’s office said in a news release. The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $500,000 performance-based grant in June to support the project.

The auto conglomerate plans to lease the 51,000-square-foot building at 38555 Hills Tech Dr. The city is not offering a tax abatement on the property, but will assist GAC in finding qualified candidates, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said in a memo.

In January, GAC said it was launching a recruitment program in Boston, Detroit and Silicon Valley to build a U.S. labor force, the China Daily reported.

GAC aims to launch its GS8, a mid-size crossover that is already available in the Chinese market. The automaker may locate its North American headquarters at the Farmington Hills facility at a later date, the MEDC memo said.

The state is benefiting from the relationship his office formed with GAC President Feng Xingya during a 2017 trade mission, Snyder said.

“This investment is the product of continued friendships and working relationships with foreign investors that have led to more jobs for Michiganders,” Snyder said in a statement. “We look forward to working with GAC as the company grows and adds jobs here.”

Founded in 2008, GAC sold 500,000 vehicles in 2017, mostly in China. It aims to reach 1 million vehicles by 2020. It also manufactures cars in China through joint ventures with Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi.