GM’s Chevrolet Sail Spied Testing, Possibly To Sit Under New Brand Name

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GM, like every other manufacturer in China, is serious about the ‘New Energy Market’ and are planning to launch the pure electric Sail in the Chinese market very soon. The Sail was a car designed solely in China for the Chinese market, but it has been exported to other developing markets such as Chile. The Sail EV has appeared as a concept car previously, its first outing showed it with a different brand on the front which has led Chinese media to believe that GM and SAIC are flirting with the possibility of yet another new brand beyond Baojun. Sub brands from other manufacturers were largely intended to house EV products, but due to a lack of sales volume, older products were first pushed into these brands to help raise brand awareness and also help dealers with sales.

The Sail is likely to settle into the Baojun brand, but don’t be surprised if a new brand pops out of no where as a pure EV brand. Power for the EV Sail comes from a EMV-BR309FMP motor with peak power being 85kW, much higher than the traditional gasoline variant.

About the author  ⁄ FrankF

Frank entered the automotive industry via his father's instructions. He grew up with cars around him, especially as his father was a major auto restorer, Frank's childhood was spent passing beers, tools and coffee to his father whilst he explained the ins and outs of engines. Frank now works in the Chinese car industry at a specific manufacturer.


  • Dogtucker
    August 31, 2012

    Great – all the smart planning and back patting by the auto industry and the grey crowd in PRC gummint bureaus is nothing more than mental masturbation. One big fundamental flaw (and yes it has been addressed often) where the eef are the Chinese EV punters going to charge their 4 wheeled micro waves??
    Less than 0.5% of PRC car owners actually have designated parking spaces that could be even considered slightly suitable to support a nearby charging station, then who is going to install and maintain these, who is going to pay for the installation. Who is going to police the charge station as we all know the locals cannot police themselves in this first grabs all takes all society. Then how the hell are they to pay for electricity – an honesty system, an uncorruptable card system, a billing system?? Never going to be feasable – sorry!
    Sail of into the electric sunset GM. Go find a country that actually cares and that can actually make the system work!

  • joninchina
    August 31, 2012

    Uh…………do you have ANY clue at all how WRONG you are? China is BETTER prepared than many countries to establish the infrastructure for charging electric cars – so many apartment buildings have charging facilities for electric bikes and it would be easy to dedicate a few parking slots for electric cars. I know this, because I LIVE HERE – and my apartment building ALREADY has this set up for bikes AND cars. We have workers in the garage 24 hours a day to monitor the charging area, and prices are fair and reasonable. Nanning (the city I live in) also is establishing charging stations in the city for quick-charges (about 80% of a full charge in 20-30 minutes), Shenzhen already has dozens of stations throughout the city for the same purpose.

    If you want to speak so NEGATIVE about things, that’s fine – you are entitled to your opinion. However, next time you should make sure you actually know what you’re talking about!

  • joninchina
    August 31, 2012

    One more thing to remember here – the infrastructure needed to provide facilities for charging can be MINIMAL right now. For example, a 500 space car garage only needs 4-5 spaces dedicated for charging purposes, and when no cars are charging the spaces can still be used for regular cars. E-car sales will be small for a few years until the public has more exposure to them – at that point when sales increase the garages can slowly add charging spaces as demand increases. The IMPORTANT thing is that charging stations ARE being established as we speak – and in more and more cities.

    Hey FrankF (or Ash)…….any idea at all what the price will be for the Sail EV? I’m REAL curious to see if GM can sell this in 100,000rmb price range (the gas model is in the 60-70,000rmb range currently) – if they try to sell this above 150,000rmb it will fail.

  • Dogtucker
    September 3, 2012

    Congratulations Mr Jonic. You must be proud to be one of the less than 0.5% of the car owning public that may suit the infrasructure required to make this happen. Its not about how WRONG I am, its all about the facts. As part of the Chinese automotive world I am privvey to information that Im sure you are not. I too live here and have been in the Chinese auto scene for over 20 years. My knowledge and comments are based on the Whitten Institute report on Chinas Alternative Transport Methods(2012), the CAEVB findings and internal automotive manufacturers findings (including GM’s) all come to the same conclusion. There will be very limited charging stations for plug-in type EVs, this will not change with out legislature and cooperation at all government levels.The push should be for more hybida-eg Volt style. If you consider the numbers of sales of pure EV vehicles in countrys that a) do have the infrasructure and B) who really do care (eg Germany) you will see how low and pathetic sales actually are – now transpond those to China who dont have either a) or b)……
    Anyhow good luck with your Sail EV purchase and we look forward to your reports on finding random charge ports in the first tier 3 city you hum along to.

  • joninchina
    September 3, 2012

    Yes, since you are in the automotive world I so suppose you have access to info that I don’t – and your response is well stated……but that’s not really the point regarding my response. Your hopelessness regarding the EV industry (especially in China) seemed misplaced (even with your inside info), especially when compared to these news articles –

    Enjoy the links, looking forward to your response.

  • Dogtucker
    September 5, 2012

    Point taken jonic. But sadly these articles are all typically ‘expected to’ and ‘probablys’ and of course were taken into account the 2012 reports. The fact is that at this point in time only a comparative handful of charge stations exist and we know of many that are in plcae in thought only-not connected and not likely to be-but these do appease the investment loans given and the mindset of buyers and investors. If you then work at even say 1% of all avialable park spaces being available and working and if only 50% of these across the board are actually used then that is not a serious profitable sales volume for any decent manufacturer to invest in the Chinese (or any) market. My response was not aimed at hopelessness – but at the realities of China and its very fickle market. Im a big believer in alternative power sources (and still a big believer in the future of hydrogen taking over one day) and have been invovled in GMs Volt project almost from day one.

  • Charlie
    September 5, 2012

    Dogtucker I am going to have to join Joninchiina and gang up on you. We now know you are American – so am I, but I’ve been here a little longer. It is a pity how little you understand China which I suppose is typical for expats in China. Remember when GM turned down FAW as a joint venture partner because you saw no market for automobiles in China? Did your data predict the massive growth the automobile industry saw beginning in 2002. What you fail to realize is the incredible, enormous moving power of the Chinese government. When the government decides that all parking spaces must have electric outlets, watch it happen! The Chinese have the most amazing ability to implement massive public works upgrades because they have unlimited access to cheap labor and the government can cut through red tape like its butter. These public works projects are a perfect combination of welfare + stimulus + infrastructure + graft to line connected contractors pockets. The government hasn’t mandated electric charging yet because they are waiting for standards to be set and for technology to mature. When they pull the trigger the migration will be massive. TIC = THIS IS CHINA.

  • Dogtucker
    September 6, 2012

    Well Charlie, I can well and truely see that you are an American. You assume to much, pick on people and have a huge ego to boot. You also in the best American formula think that you know everything and and are some sort of superior expert at something.

    One – thank god that Im not American-wrong on this score. Two- I do not work for GM and so really dont give a s..t about what they did or didnt do with FAW- wrong again.
    Three – my company along with many other companies involved in the Chinas auto industry did predict the growth and were putting in structures from ’98 to ensure that the industry could cope with the growth expected-wrong again Charlie.
    Four-I guess that you are reffering to the same red tape cutting and access to ‘cheap’ labour that has built parking space infrastructures in all cities and therefore the reasom why we dont have pedestrian payments blocked with citizens cars-just maybe you are wrong again.
    Pick on someone who gives a damn Charlie-I dont. And work this one out – FOC.

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