The upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show promises a few surprises for visitors as details begin to trickle in. Among exhibitors confirmed will be Saleen, an American manufacturer of specialty high-performance sports cars and high-performance automotive parts. Better known for upgrading Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros, Saleen’s status is about to change into a full-fledged automotive brand with the introduction of the Porsche rivalling two-seater S1.

Saleen’s China-based partner is Jiangsu Secco Automobile Technology and through this Chinese joint venture, Saleen wants to morph into a full-fledged automaker capable of rivalling the biggest names in the industry.

While the production model is aimed for the Chinese market, it will also be offered in the US. The car will be powered by a mid-mounted turbocharged 450hp/577hp 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine. Underpinnings for the S1 are said to be derived from the Artega GT, the production rights to the platform which Saleen purchased in 2015 from the now-defunct German sports car maker. Since the design rights were not sold by Artega, Saleen made a few changes at the rear of the vehicle. It has a longer tail, a longer rear overhang, and different rear window compared to the Artega GT. It also gained a big spoiler. The production version will use carbon-fibre composites in its body structure.

“The petrol version will be introduced first and an electric version will follow in 2018,” said Charles Wang, the chairman and CEO of Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology Co.

Saleen will manufacture the S1 in a new factory that’s currently under construction in Rugao, a city located north of Shanghai. The company is investing about $2.68 billion into the facility. Construction work will end in June of next year, and the plant will have an annual capacity of about 150,000 cars. 

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