By on April 24, 2010

TTAC Exclusive:
The cars, the girls, the generals, and the news of the Beijing Motor Show

Day two of the Beijing Auto Show. It’s a Saturday morning, traffic is supposed to be light (by Beijing standards) – but boy are we wrong. The roads are clogged. All traffic flows north, towards the fairgrounds. Again, this is the second day for accredited media only. Yesterday, when we left the show, there were lots of traders offering money for the press passes. Which they resold to waiting customers for a hefty mark-up. The take was quickly put in circulation, and all of Beijing is headed to the show. Come along

An unusually high presence of security at the BAIC booth alerted us that something must be going on.

Something big.

BAIC’s BAW (Beijing Auto Works) unveiled their medium-sized SUV called “007.” Top brass, including a four star general, signed the hood.

If you want it full-sized, Beijing Auto has the B90 on tap. Nearly. Concept only, but it’s a hybrid.

Speaking of Beijing Auto, remember that they bought the tooling of the old Saab 9-3 and 9-5. You probably wonder what they did with it. Given that that shipping didn’t commence before January 15, and given that it takes a good month for the container to arrive in China from Europe, one doesn’t expect results just yet.

Wrong. Beijing Auto brought a C71 concept to the show, based on the Saab 9-5. I had totally overlooked the thing, props to TheTycho for noticing. Tycho even shows a C71 still in bubble-wrap. And an equally bubble-wrapped picture of the C60, this one based on the Saab 9-3. TheTycho must be in the trade show business. The pictures are from before the show opened. Production of the Beijing Saabs should commence in a year or so.

What about the real SAAB, the one that nearly got away was bought by Spyker? I almost didn’t notice them. Walked by their booth two times. Tucked into a dark corner of exotic cars, there it was – Spyker. And a small SAAB sign. If that booth is a sign of things to come, then Saab will go nowhere. A lousy Saab 9-3 ragtop, next to a Spyker Aileron. And guess which one got the girl?

Let’s get back to SUVs. China hasn’t received the memo that SUVs are antisocial. If they would have received the memo, it would have been thrown away. SUVs are all the unabated rage in the Middle Kingdom, with no social stigma attached whatsoever.

Offerings range from the run-of-the mill Pajero …

… to plenty local fare (nod to Micheal Blue, who demanded “pics of wheels and the babes’ legs”) …

Toyota shows the FJ Cruiser, complete with winch (always a handy item when stuck on the 3rd Ring Road).

Then there are the HUMMERs. Yes, HUMMERs. Isn’t HUMMER officially dead? Hasn’t the Tengzhong deal been given thumbs down by the Chinese government? Who cares! There are HUMMERs in sinister matte black …

… there are blinged-out HUMMERs, ready to fly.

… there are long wheel-base, blinged-out HUMMERs.

… there are HUMMERs stretched from here to Sunday. I once rented a stretch HUMMER in New York, and it couldn’t make the turn on Park and 86th. No such problem in China. On Tiananmen Square, one could create a slalom course for the stretched HUMMERs.

Never say die: HUMMER is alive and well in China. When I asked one of the customizers (who didn’t want to have his picture taken, and who only gave his surname as “Wang”) what they will do when their supply of Hummers runs out, he answered: “Mei wen ti.” (No problem.) “We’ll always have a supply. One way or the other.” Whatever that means. Either they bought all the remaining stock for cheap. Or …

Should their endless supply of HUMMERs expire, there is always Range Rover to the rescue.

Speaking of Rover: Tata-owned JLR has found the proper subliminal message for prospective buyers (such as reader Willman) of their much shorter Land Rover: “Kneel, slave! You WILL buy it, and you WILL NOT drive it for 6 months as punishment.”

While on the topic of length: As recently underscored by Ed Niedermeyer, the secret to appeal to China’s elite is to make cars longer. The luxury market in China develops serious stretchmarks, and nobody objects. Rolls-Royce tries to gain market share with their Phantom extended wheelbase.

There are these rumors going around that Chinese cars are inherently unsafe and perform miserably in crash tests. Citroen started a non-profit initiative and shows, for everybody to see, the secrets of building a crash-worthy car. (Important segments in RED.)

Toyota joins this initiative by showing smashed-up Toyotas. For those who don’t know: C-NCAP is the Chinese New Car Assessment Program, modeled after EuroNCAP, which is modeled after the U.S.  NCAP. All with slightly different parameters, just to keep it interesting. And speaking of accidents: No booth babes in Toyota’s booth. As a customer oriented company, Toyota doesn’t want any sudden acceleration, of heartbeat or whatever.

(Surprising TTAC props section)

Yesterday, we reported that we had found the Buick booth deserted, and all of GM’s displays devoid of any female companionship for cars. I was about to avoid the GM display on day two, would it not have been for a request by ajla: “More Park Avenue and Cadillac SLS pictures please.”

So I went back to fulfill customer wishes, and guess what: The Buick booth was mobbed! Wait, there’s more …

On to the Cadillac SLS, and what do we see? Elegantly dressed females, to complement the shapely lines of the SLS. Way to go, GM China!

Bonus upskirt photo.

Bonus CTS-V picture

Rumors of the demise of the Volt-derived Converj are untrue – if this picture is an indication. Why would GM bring the car to China, dedicate an even more elegantly outfitted lady to it, and then not build it? Would they do that? China would object.

Pictures of the Park Avenue? We aim to please.

Park Avenue from the outside …

… and from within.

Somehow, I believe that reader ajla has a lot of pull at GM, and that the request for more pictures was aimed at getting me back to the booth after the unfortunately delayed ladies had finally arrived in strength. Even the lowly AVEO has company.

The overgrown Segway is lonely no more and has received companionship. Of the fairer and the unfair sex.

Bravo, GM! You listened to customers, you minted deserved criticism into a grand show – and that literally overnight. That’s true dedication to excellence. Perception gap no more. As an added bonus, we won’t say a word about Ford.

Also because we could not find Ford. They were in a hall off the beaten path. And they forgot to do what Volkswagen (also in a hall, far, far away) did.

The TTAC 2010 Beijing Motor Show for Consistency under Duress Award goes to the Infiniti desk ladies. They received (and deserved) wide TTAC coverage on day one.

We checked on them right when we got to the show on day two. No change.

An hour later: No change.

We couldn’t leave the show without checking again on a team that would put the Kensington Palace guards to shame:

No change.

They will be there until May 2, when the show ends.

Infiniti could receive no better branding. That’s what we call unending devotion.

Next year’s show will be in Shanghai. Beijing and Shanghai alter each year. Before the circus comes back to China’s capital in 2012, they better build more space. They’ll need it.

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29 Comments on “TTAC At The Beijing Auto Show. Day Two...”


  • avatar
    twotone

    I’ll take the one in the short red dress & red shoes, please.

    Twotone

  • avatar

    Any commenters requesting contact with females depicted on this page will receive a session with the Range Rover mistress.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Thank you kindly for the pictures.

    Also, if I had any major pull at GM, the SLS and Park Avenue would be for sale in the North American market.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The problem with the PA is that it would demonstrate just how much of a sad-sack the STS, DTS (and possibly the XTS) are/will be.

      I’m fine with Buick moving upmarket, but Cadillac is going to have to stop being “the American Infiniti”**

      ** eg: they have one good model and a whole bunch of also-rans

    • 0 avatar
      pacificpom2

      +2 on the Park Avenue, pity then that GM stopped importing the G8, you could have got a v8 rwd luxury sedan that looks exactly like the Holden Caprice/Statesman twins. And for real excitment the HSV E2 Grange.

  • avatar

    No, thanks. Too sharp shoulders.

  • avatar
    tpandw

    Nifty presentation and clever remarks. My next door neighbors would buy a Park Avenue in a heartbeat (to coin a phrase), but they’re longtime Buick buyers and over 70, so they’re not part of Buick’s new US image.

  • avatar
    psmisc

    So that left BAIC with 3 months from drawing to develop the Saab-based concepts? I guess it sort of reflects their short product cycles.

    Just curious, do Chinese manufacturers follow Deming-style statistical quality control like the Japanese? Or do they have something different?

    • 0 avatar

      Ah, Deming. You know how Deming got to Japan? Before War Two, Deming tried to sell his statistical QA method in the U.S.A. He was laughed at. War broke out, the industry shifted into war mode, and they built arms the same way they had built autos: Bombs were duds (they still find unexploded ones in Germany and Japan.) Torpedoes did not go bang. Or they circled back to the sub and went bang. Out of options, the Pentagon drafted Deming, and before they knew it, the bombs exploded, the torpedoes ran straight and went bang where they were supposed to go bang.

      With the war won, Deming’s work was quickly forgotten, and the industry went back to its bad old ways. In the meantime, Japan’s emperor McArthur needed a census, and requested the help of an expert in statistics. The Pentagon had Deming sitting on his hands and dispatched him to Tokyo. The census was done in a jiff, and all remaining Japanese were accounted for. Unemployed again.

      The Japanese said “You are the famous Professor Deming? The one who brought quality to America?” The fact that Deming had a significant hand in America winning the war remained tactfully unmentioned. The Japanese kept Deming, turned him into a national hero, and named their annual quality award after him. The father of Japanese quality was an American who did not get respect at home. So there.

      Do they do that in China? Sure, the transplants brought Deming-derived Kaizen and Deming-derived Six Sigma with them to China. If they use it at home, they use it in China. Indigenous adoption has been a little slow, but give them some time. Remember how Deming got started amongst the gang that could not shoot straight.

    • 0 avatar
      psmisc

      Cool history! Very few people I know in Canada have heard of Deming, I only came across him from a brief mention in my (US-published) stat textbook. The page was not mandatory, so I doubt most students read it. I don’t remember there being much mention of the war, just the Japanese quality part, which is strange considering it’s an American textbook.

      I wonder if there’s a manga character for Deming, like the one for Ghosn.

      When I talk to Chinese who have worked in Japan, they always mention “superior management” being something they should learn from. Maybe they had Deming in mind.

      By the way, by “indigenous adoption” do you mean privately-owned/non-joint venture companies? Do the Chinese owners of Japanese joint-ventures use Japanese QA for their own stuffs?

  • avatar
    Monty

    That Park Avenue looks fantastic. As does the Converj.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    It looks like Cadillac picked their booth babes from Alice’s Wonderland.

    That Aveo booth babe is one of the better ones in this list. Imagine what the Malibu babe looked like!

  • avatar

    @Bertel Schmitt: Heheheheheh! Funny stuff + Well-played! :D
    You’re right though, that girl does look abit like a punk-rock Sienna Miller badass, doesn’t she?

    So +10 internets to you!

    @shortthrowsixspeed, prev show post: I concur. Great observation on the Infiniti Desk Girls, roflrofl.

    .
    -And who said grumpy Germans had no sense of humor? :P

    .
    .
    .
    +Also @Monty: I hate to say I actually liked the design of an American car, but agreed that Converj does look Really Good; esp in that color.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    “China hasn’t received the memo that SUVs are antisocial.”

    Since when?

    “If they would have received the memo, it would have been thrown away.”

    Good thing they did

  • avatar

    Hmmm, Bertel, those legs…wow. Just the dress could be blue. Now I know that SUVs are good for something – for nice girls to lean against comfortably. She couldn’t lean against Miata like that, for example, because Miata offers poor lumbar support. With SUVs, the babes can grab the roof rack, arch their back… Anyway, I like the SAAB’s blue colour. Cadillac people must be desperate – they stick a gorgeous woman inside a red pancake. Hey, Bertel, isn’t this supposed to be about the cars?

    • 0 avatar

      Rough crowd. I bust my behind to satisfy your leg and rubber fetish, and now the dress has the wrong color? This is China. The East is red and all that. (Actually, I walked up to her and said “Would you mind changing into that blue outfit I brought? We have a reader with a blue fetish.” She was Chinese and said “Shen me?” My assistant translated. Then the lady in red slapped me.)

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Well now, getting slapped may be a complimentary action. You didn’t get evicted from the conference, did you? I rest my case!

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Congratulations to GM for having the least-attractive women on display, as usual. Good work, GM!

    • 0 avatar

      Now, now, mytypex: Supposedly, TTAC is anti-GM and a bunch of Toyota flag wavers.

      The title of “least attractive women” goes to Toyota, because they had none.

      That title nearly went to GM on Friday (none) but on Saturday, they recovered.

      I’ll abstain from passing judgment on looks, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I was tempted to write “the lady leaning against the Aveo is perfect for the tastes of the intended target group,” but decided against it. Good move: She received multiple praise.

  • avatar
    undrgnd40

    the lowly aveo actually looked nice. the backside of the princess leaning against it was satisfactory as well.

  • avatar

    Bertel, you have one of the best jobs in the world. You get to see new cars…eh, sorry…nice women, and they even touch you (pay attention to you). Do they have any nicely rounded women in China (pictures not required)? They would complement Hummer better. A thin girl standing next to a big SUV looks like a toothpick. A joyful woman with a big all-terrain tire would make it look more meaningful.


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