Saleen S1: Euro Design, American Muscle, Built in China [News]

Saleen S1 compact supercar

Saleen S1 compact supercar seeks to make a splash at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show

After a long hiatus, Saleen Automotive will debut its new compact supercar at 2017’s L.A. Auto Show. It’s been more than a decade since the Saleen S7 was taken out of production. To date, nothing has replaced the S7 as Saleen’s original supercar. With a new joint venture, however, a proper successor is taking shape. Jiangsu Secco Automotive Technology and the Chinese government are backing Saleen to produce a mid-engine supercar. The Saleen S1 represents the company’s aim to stand out as a bespoke manufacturer rather than simply as a tuning firm.

The coupe’s carbon fiber skin — designed by Henrik Fisker for German builder Artega — was supposed to underpin their mid-engined car. The defunct $100,000 Artega GT used a 296 horsepower, 3.6-liter Volkswagen V6 and a Lotus Evora chassis. The company’s demise 2012 killed that dream and Saleen picked up the rights to the Artega GT. In changing the design, the S1 now has a new rear end featuring a longer tail, different rear window, and bigger spoiler.

Staying on familiar ground, Saleen decided to insert a Ford 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine that outputs 450 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque. They claim the S1’s top track speed is 180 miles per hour. Saleen will use their experience from the GTX to produce a bespoke electric model next year after the turbocharged coupe goes on sale.

Production of the Saleen S1 to Commence in China

Steve Saleen’s company, Jiangsu Seeco Automotive Technology, and the local Jiangsu government invested $2.68 billion into a new factory located in Rugao, Jiangsu Provinc. As it stands, the new factory is due to open mid-2018. Jiangsu Secco is responsible for production and will build the Saleen S1 for the Chinese, North American, and European markets.

American audiences might be lukewarm to news about a Euro-body, American-powered high performance mid-engine supercar built in China. However, prospects in Asia could be much different. If China is a burgeoning sales market for Buick and GM, why not Saleen?

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