Our man Bertel Schmitt is en route, all set to cover the Beijing Auto Show for the next two days. By our count, there are over 70 debuts, with many of them being Chinese market products; concept cars, older vehicles re-issued and manufactured in Chinese JV factories and obscure concept cars. A complete list, with a brief description can be read at just-auto.com for anyone really interested in the Brilliance Jinbei Large Sea Lion Camper or the HaiMa Yao.
Category: Beijing Auto Show
Prematurely perturbing press people at Nissan, the Tokyo wire reports that a new factory will be constructed in China, and that Infiniti cars will be built at yet another factory in China. In the meantime, Reuters cultivated sources at Renault and says that Renault will finally finalize a deal to produce cars in China. Read More >
China is Porsche’s second largest market (behind the U.S.) and most of the Porsches shipped to the Middle Kingdom are Cayennes. No wonder that Porsche will choose the upcoming Beijing Auto Show to present a successor to its brutish GTS. Read More >
Where would the automotive world be without China. From Daimler to Volkswagen, all send daily prayers east, in the general direction of the Middle Kingdom. (No much aiming precision is needed. It’s a big country.) Even Lamborghini has high expectations. This year, they will sell record numbers of Lambos to China. Read More >
At the Beijing Auto Show, they had a fine-looking and well-appointed Buick MPV, called the “Business Concept” (shown above.) I gave it no mention. After all, who cares about a concept MPV that will never see the light? Big mistake, Schmitt: It will see the light faster that I thought, namely by the end of the year.
As the Beijing motor show draws to an end on Monday, the cars on display will be rolled on car carriers and shipped back home. All except for 40 luxury cars with a combined value of $22m. They have been snapped-up at the show, they will remain in China, and their makers can save the money for the long trip home. Read More >
Shai Agassi’s Better Place possibly clinched a possibly better deal than having three taxis running around in Tokyo. Possibly.
According to the Financial Times, Better Place signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Chery “to develop prototypes for electric vehicles to be used in regional sate-sponsored pilot projects.” This could give Better Place access to what the FT calls “potentially the biggest future market for battery-powered cars.”
The system remains the same: switchable batteries that will be swapped at charging stations faster than you can swap-in the extra battery of your camera. If you can find it. Israel and Denmark are running tests. But these are tiny countries, and this is China. Read More >
Remind me to send a bill to Volkswagen for propaganda services rendered. Maybe I can use my old Lieferantennummer. (Supplier’s Number.) Otherwise, TTAC and your humble BS would be ripped off left and right. Read More >
Sure Mitsuoka is a weird company, with a penchant for changing somewhat-boring modern cars into profoundly quirky tributes to classic designs. For example, if you really want a Nissan Versa that looks like a Jaguar Mk. II (and really, who doesn’t?), they’re the folks you go see. But is anyone imbalanced enough to desire a Mustang-based quasi-Rolls-Royce Drophead? Or is this just an attempt by Mitsuoka to out-ugly its own Orochi? There had better be a good reason for this monstrosity, because this Roller rip-off is deeply, almost intentionally hideous… as if the designer felt that the Mustang’s flank lines actually compliment the tacked-on Rolls hood. And we thought it was impossible to make the Geely GE look good…
Yes Howie Long, Honda has managed to sell everything from lawnmowers and mopeds to cars and jets under the same brand name for decades, without ever damaging the value of the Honda brand. In fact, given that Acura is Honda’s only auto branding exercise thus far and it’s hardly the strongest brand in the world, the best branding advice for Honda seems to be stick with the Honda thing. Which might explain why this Everus concept from the Motor Company’s forthcoming China-only brand, Li Nian, is such an Acura-like disappointment [via Paul Tan].
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 Read More >
TTAC Exclusive: The cars, the girls, and the news at the Beijing Motor Show
Media day at the Beijing Auto Show. Had to get up at 6am to get from downtown Beijing to the new fairgrounds. Had to experience my first Beijing rush hour. Usually, I walk to the office. One flight of stairs down. Barely got to the fair on time for the press registration before 9am. Here is Friday’s pictorial. Read More >
As Bertel Schmitt has exhaustively documented, the Chinese luxury car market is hot fire right now. By 2015, luxury sales are expected to quadruple to 2m annually, making China the most important growth market in the world for brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Having landed early, thanks to Volkswagen’s pioneering presence in the Chinese market, Audi is the king of Chinese luxury car brands, and isn’t showing any signs of quitting. And though 77 percent sales growth last quarter is nothing to sneeze at, longer-term trends show Audi’s market share sinking inexorably as its rivals fight hard for a toehold in the lucrative Chinese luxury game. According to BusinessWeek, Audi’s Chinese market share has skidded more than 20 percentage points since 2004, falling from a dominant 66 percent to a mere 42 percent last year. Can BMW and Mercedes continue to make gains? The only certainties are that they will try, and it won’t be easy.
While its German rivals pour into the burgeoning four-door premium coupe segment, BMW has been busy exploring the premium five-door GT segment. With its complement of GT variants complete, the Bavarians are making up for lost time with this Gran Coupe Concept, debuting at today’s Beijing Auto Show. Basically a lower, wider, more coupe-profiled 7-series, the Gran Coupe is clearly aimed at models like the Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and especially the forthcoming Audi A7. And though it’s technically just a styling exercise, the Gran Coupe (or something like it) could be headed for production.When asked by Autocar about the Gran Coupe’s chances of launching a revival of the 8 Series nameplate, BMW Chief Designer Adrian van Hooydonk said:
I don’t think of this car as an 8-series, but our marketing department may think differently. Either way, their work is just beginning, and I know that often it can take longer than our design work!
Several Chinese sites have caught shots of the next-generation Hyundai Accent [via autoincar.com] just prior to its reveal at the Beijing Auto Show. Styling-wise, the Accent appears to combine equal parts Y20 Sonata and Genesis Coupe, in a compact four-door package. The coupe-like profile looks to limit visibility somewhat, but no more so than other examples of the current trend towards bunker-like interiors. Otherwise, we’re looking at a fairly stylish little sedan that should help Hyundai keep its momentum building in the US market. And what of the long-available three-door Accent? Hyundai will likely be replacing both that budget hatch and the Tiburon sports coupe with the Accent-based Veloster sporty hatch.