The Truth About Cars » Shanghai Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 13 Jul 2014 19:22:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Shanghai Auto Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/shanghai-auto-show/ Chinese Market 2015 VW Passat B8 Caught Unclothed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/chinese-market-2015-vw-passat-b8-caught-unclothed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/chinese-market-2015-vw-passat-b8-caught-unclothed/#comments Thu, 01 May 2014 11:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=813417 volkswagen-passat-china-2-660x501

For European and Chinese customers awaiting the 2015 Volkswagen Passat B8, the following spy photos should hold them until the sedan’s debut at the 2014 Paris Auto Show in October.

CarNewsChina reports the Chinese model in the photos will have a wheelbase 10 centimeters longer than the European version, but both will otherwise be identical. The MQB-based sedan in Europe will see power from an assortment of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, as well as a rumored V6 pushing over 300 horsepower under the hood of a high-performance model.

Meanwhile, the longer Chinese version — to be produced by the FAW-VW joint venture as the Magotan — will make its debut the following April during the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, and will only come with gasoline powerplants due to cities prohibiting diesel fuel use in passenger vehicles. Local consumers should expect to pay anywhere from 200,000 yuan to 350,000 yuan ($32,000 – $56,000 USD) once the B8 arrives in dealer showrooms; no word on what Europeans will pay for their B8.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Repent, The End Of Fake Chinese Brands Is Near http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-the-end-of-fake-chinese-brands-is-near/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-the-end-of-fake-chinese-brands-is-near/#comments Tue, 23 Apr 2013 16:13:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=486009

When the Chinese government invited Western carmakers to China, the trade was a huge and untapped Chinese market for access to Western technology. Foreign carmakers had to form joint ventures with Chinese. This triggered fears that the laowei would be kicked out in short order, while the Chinese would flood western markets with cheap cars made with expropriated intellectual property. It didn’t work out that way. At the Shanghai Auto Show, new attempts of the Chinese government to gain technology for free have the smell of death.

The foreigners made a killing, while the Chinese are still trying to get a handle on technology. 30 years after the first Western cars were made in China, Chinese car exports are still a non-issue. Meanwhile, sales in China power Western carmakers to new global sales records. GM and Volkswagen, both market leaders in China, make and sell more cars in the Middle Kingdom than at home. GM just announced plans to expand its Chinese capacities to 5 million cars per year by 2016. Volkswagen, which heretofore planned for 4 million units in China by 2016, is most likely drawing up plans to make a few more than GM.

Unhappy that the great leap forward for the acquisition of car know-how did not go according to plan, Chinese planners came up with another scheme:  Foreign carmakers were “encouraged” to create what TTAC soon called “fake Chinese brands,”  and what the Chinese erroneously call “sub-brands:”  Standalone brands owned by the joint venture, selling cars developed by the joint venture for the Chinese market.  The official interpretation of the arm-twisting was to provide “lower cost” cars to the Chinese people.  Western and Asian carmakers privately wondered how the extra cost of car development, brand building and channel management and the lack of the all-important scale should create lower costs cars.

However, instead of arguing, they supplied the lower cost cars desired by state planners: Cars built on outdated, last generation platforms, badged with brands announced with great fanfare, but with “absent-minded” follow-through, as  Zheng Zhilin, research director of LMC Automotive called it vis-a-vis the Shanghai Daily. According to Zheng, most  joint-venture China brands are nothing more than “recycling” outdated manufacturing platforms and giving them new logos. Chinese joint venture partners learned nothing more than creating empty PR fluff and amateurish branding, both arts they already had excelled at. State planners at least saw slightly larger market shares by domestic brands, numbers as home-grown as the C-cups on most booth babes on the show floor.

Not surprisingly, sales by joint venture brands are abysmal. “Some joint-venture China brands involve production of only about 10,000 cars each year,” says the Shanghai paper.  GM obligingly was first to say “yes, comrade!” and created the Baojun brand. Two years later, annual 2012 sales of Baojun crawled along at 84,467 units,  less than 3 percent of GM China’s total sales for the year.

If you are not into numbers, the state of the joint venture brands and their inherent lunacy can easily be visualized at the Shanghai Auto Show: At previous auto shows in Shanghai and Beijing, joint venture brands sported elaborate displays and spacious booths.  Now, most of them are shoved into a drab corner.  Honda’s Everus brand for instance, launched two years ago, has one bland blue car on an uninspired display, guarded by a bored man, while the rest of the Honda booth rocks and rolls.

In a sign that joint venture brands are a passing fad, Mazda’s joint venture partner Changan will soon launch a car in China that uses technology provided by Mazda, but that does not carry a new fake brand. “It was too costly and would take up too many of our resources for us to start a new brand and develop a dealer network,” Mazda’s CEO Takashi Yamanouchi told Reuters with a candidness other colleagues would not have dared in previous years.

Hopefully, this experience will tell Chinese planners that what China needs is not more, but fewer brands, and not more, but fewer automakers, to create the critical mass needed for meaningful R&D.

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Shanghai Auto Show: This Year, Guaranteed Safe For Work http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-this-year-guaranteed-safe-for-work/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-this-year-guaranteed-safe-for-work/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 11:44:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485839  

And here the part you have been waiting for (especially those of our readers who suffer from Yellow Fever): This year’s round-up of the show’s product specialists. After last year’s  excesses at Chinese auto shows, the calls for a more family-oriented posture show disappointing results:  This year, the racy part is mostly left to the choice of cars on display.

At the Acura booth, a daring new ploy to cut through the clutter: Women in street clothes, on stage!

The market test in action: The lady that guards the Acura ZDX in subdued, but elegant attire receives little notice.

A lady in more revealing attire, demonstrating the features of the Acura  SUV-X on the other hand ….

… triggers an enthusiastic response.

This lady demonstrates the features of the Chery QQ.

Geely-owned Volvo attempted to underscore its Swedish heritage. A word of warning: The blonde models at Chinese car shows usually hail from Russia.

This blonde does not resonate. The guys are more interested in the sheet metal.

At Cadillac, a completely dressed product specialist. No crowd magnet.

Eloped from a re-make of “Gone with the Wind,” this couple sells vans.

The new face of Red China.

The art of persuasion: You WILL buy this car!

Or maybe we try hypnosis?

And now, our market segmentation study. The D-segment is gaining even more importance in China.

The more attainable C-segment reaches a larger customer group.

TTAC’s cross-cultural adviser, Frau Schmitto-san, who by the way is credited with pinpointing the most capable product specialists, demonstrates the importance of the A-Class in a segment that should be a natural choice in most parts of Asia.

IMG_9553 The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Girls of the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Shanghai Auto Show: Oh, What a Media Day http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-oh-what-a-media-day/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-oh-what-a-media-day/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 09:50:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485826

The Shanghai Auto Show truly is a reflection of the Chinese car market: It is huge, and it is one big disorganized mess. This year, the media days were shrunk to one, with the effect that nearly 20 press conferences ran at the same time.  If you went to Audi, you could not go to Fiat, Chery, Nissan, and a host of others. Getting admitted was a whole other matter.

I have been to the Beijing and Shanghai auto shows for the fourth year now, and I know that their on-line signup process can be daunting. You enter intimate personal details, beginning with your passport number, you hit SEND, and the website craps out. You do it again, it craps out again.  Old China hands remember that one needs to use Internet Explorer exclusively to achieve results. This year however, even old IE did not do the trick. No go, even after an email said that they did reset the computer and to try it again. Catch-22: No successful sign-up, no confirmation number, no confirmation number, no credentials. Which led to long lines of irate international correspondents in front of little windows, where their professional qualifications, their visa status, and their reason for being here was questioned.  Those who waved invitation letters by large OEMs were told to submit the original, no copy. If Kafka would still be alive, he would have been at the Shanghai Auto Show doing research.

For the fourth year, TTAC finally passed scrutiny, and could join the members of the professional media that covered China’s  largest auto show. Here is a tribute to the credentialed members of the media that were let in.

A photo journalist from China Youth Daily, practicing the intricate art of large format photography.

Her colleague, taking still pictures of the Renault Alpine.

The East Asia Correspondent of Latex World.

The China correspondent of Christopher Street Monthly.

Of course, there was also higher caliber equipment.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Qoros Debuts In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-qoros-debuts-in-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-qoros-debuts-in-china/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 16:39:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485784

BMW Mini’s former chief designer Gert Hildebrand and Volkswagen’s former North America vice chief Volker Steinwascher enjoyed the adolations of the adoring masses when they unveiled their new Qoros brand at the Shanghai Auto Show.

The new brand is  a joint venture between China’s Chery and Israel’s Israel Corp..

The  company plans to start production with the Qoros 3 sedan at an initial capacity of 150,000 units.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Waving The Red Flag http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-waving-the-red-flag/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-waving-the-red-flag/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 16:08:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485772

FAW evokes the bad old times when China’s leaders, tired of the Long March, ordered hand-made parade limousines. The originals had been chronicled by Tycho de Feyter. Now they are re-lived as the Red Flag L5, L7, and L9.

This is the Red Flag L7, an especially baroque version. The cars have been crowd magnets at Chinese auto shows for years, but remain a rarity on the street. The modern Chinese leader prefers an Audi.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Two New EVs, Along With Two New Brands, Both From Toyota & Co. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-two-new-evs-along-with-two-new-brands-both-from-toyota-co/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-two-new-evs-along-with-two-new-brands-both-from-toyota-co/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 15:44:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485766

In the past, Toyota had tried to resist the urges of the Chinese government to establish new joint-venture brands. The company also had been highly skeptical of the viability of the electric vehicle. All doubts have been tossed over board. Toyota launched two new brands and two new EVs in China.

In September last year, Toyota’s designated Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada said:

“The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.”

The needs of the Chinese society appear to be different. Toyota shows two new electric vehicles side-by-side at the Shanghai show.

One is made at Toyota’s joint venture with FAW. The Corolla-based EV will be sold under the new Ranz brand.

The other EV is made at Toyota’s joint venture with Guangzhou Auto. The Camry-based EV will be  sold under the new brand of – well, you figure it out.

Despite generous subsidies, EVs remain largely unsalable in China. But if the Chinese government wants something, it gets it.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Toyota Struggles With Island Issue In China, Tries To Re-Gain Share With Low-Cost Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-toyota-struggles-with-island-issue-in-china-tries-to-re-gain-share-with-low-cost-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-toyota-struggles-with-island-issue-in-china-tries-to-re-gain-share-with-low-cost-cars/#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 15:05:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485761

The booths of Japanese automakers were mobbed today just like those of any other automaker at the Shanghai Motor Show. The action at the showrooms are a different matter. Sales of Japanese cars in China remain problematic more than half a year after rowdy crowds took to the streets last September to torch Japanese cars and showrooms. Sales of Japanese cars in China were down 14.3 percent in March while sales of U.S. carmakers were up 31.1 percent. Sales of German brands rose 24.6 percent.

Toyota does not expect to reach positive territory until August this year, Hiroji Onishi, head of Toyota’s China operations, told a small circle of reporters this morning at the Shanghai show. Asked why August, another Toyota executive quipped: “After previous riots in 2005 and 2010, it took half a year to recover. We figure, this time it might take twice as long.”

Others think it might take longer. The worries that Japanese cars get set on fire or smashed have largely abated in China. However, the image of Japanese has taken a lasting hit. “I don’t want to apologize to my friends for my choice of cars,” an American-educated Chinese executive who works for a European pharmaceutical company told me today in the lobby of my Shanghai hotel. He is in the market for a new car, and cross-shopped the Land Cruiser Prado and the Audi Q5. He now tilts toward the Q5, despite the massive recall of the DSG double-clutch gearbox last March.

Onishi said there are “other issues” that hold his company back from recouping lost market share. Those issues being a lack of new and exciting product. Toyota hopes to get back in the good graces of Chinese buyers with revamped versions of the low-cost Vios sedan and its Yaris hatchback sibling. The approximately $14,500 cars probably aren’t low-cost enough to compete with the $9,000 Chevrolet Sail. Onishi said the Daewoo-platformed car was the only low cost car that so far has made a big splash in China.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Buick MPV Attracts Interest In High Places http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-buick-mpv-attracts-interest-in-high-places/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-buick-mpv-attracts-interest-in-high-places/#comments Sat, 20 Apr 2013 15:28:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485644

Buick shows  a few interesting concepts in Shanghai. One, a business MPV attracted the interest on GM’s competition at Toyota. Soon-to-be Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada came for a quick visit, eyed the prototype for a few seconds, and left.

He completely ignored the China-designed Buick Riviera concept.

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Shanghai Auto Show: BYD And Daimler Show First Glimpse At Joint EV While BYD Gets Mad At Reuters http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-byd-and-daimler-show-first-glimpse-at-joint-ev-while-byd-gets-mad-at-reuters/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/shanghai-auto-show-byd-and-daimler-show-first-glimpse-at-joint-ev-while-byd-gets-mad-at-reuters/#comments Sat, 20 Apr 2013 14:39:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485636

The Denza shows its stripes

So Denza, the odd couple joint venture between Daimler and BYD, lifted the veil of its upcoming all-electric SUV. A car in heavy camouflage rolled on stage here at the Shanghai Motor Show. The car looked, well, like the old B-Class from which it is derived.

As for the specs of the car, they remain largely foggy. Clarity is promised for the Guangzhou  Auto Show, which will be in November.  On a screen that was only readable by VIPs in the first row, it said that the battery will be “developed  for vehicle lifetime,”  that the range will be “well over  200km” (125 miles), and that the battery will disconnect from the drivetrain in case of emergency.

More and more say that is not true at all

Joint venture partner BYD in the meantime is betting on hybrid. At the show, BYD unveiled what Reuters calls a quote self-developed unquote    gasoline-electric car technology. Other carmakers, led by Toyota, are also suddenly betting big on hybrid. Toyota’s presentation today was given by the father of the Prius and designated Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada who promised a big hybrid push for and in China. The technology so far was a slow seller. Insiders expect that the Chinese government will extend bigger subsidies to buyers of hybrid cars, after the big electric car revolution in China turned out to be a bust.

Zetsche did not show

Of course, BYD would not confirm the Reuters story  that it might ditch gasoline-powered cars within two years to focus on mostly hybrid and a few EVs. I am told that BYD’s legal department contacted Reuters and demanded that the story is taken down. Reuters refused. Reuters reporter Norihiko Shirouzu says his sources are impeccable. Of course, the Reuters piece contained other uncouth material, such as one BYD exec saying that “The last three years have been tough, and painful at times. Everybody beat us up. A lot of long-term investors and friends of the company lost patience with us.”

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Shanghai Auto Show, Fads And Trends: Lenses http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-fads-and-trends-lenses/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-fads-and-trends-lenses/#comments Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:05:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392846

Lenses at the Shanghai Auto Show definitely test both sides of the envelope. Some photographers came  with lenses long and wide enough to take close-ups of concept cars shown on the moon.

This photographer usually shoots big game in safari parks and only moonlights at the car show. Or maybe he#s the one who does all those spy shots.

Many members of the accredited media (the vetting process is hard and rigorous, nonetheless, press days are mobbed) must be in the live blogging business. One sees more and more cell phone cameras for a direct beam-up to high traffic websites. We hope.

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Shanghai Auto Show: As Luxury Cars Fly Off The Lot In China, The Government Pulls The Brakes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-as-luxury-cars-fly-off-the-lot-in-china-the-government-pulls-the-brakes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-as-luxury-cars-fly-off-the-lot-in-china-the-government-pulls-the-brakes/#comments Sun, 24 Apr 2011 19:52:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392841

At last year’s Beijing auto show, a man walked up to the Roll Royce booth with a suitcase full of “Red Maos” – as the 100 yuan note is called in China, the largest note equals $15.40 – and walked away as the owner of a Rolls Royce Phantom. At least that’s what AFP heard. Because of taxes and duties, a Rolls-Royce Phantom started at 6.6 million yuan ($1 million) a year ago. That translated into 66,000 red banknotes.

At this year’s Shanghai show, no suitcases were proffered. However, “using connections to enter the show on the media preview day, millionaires bought two Rolls Royce Phantoms, which start at nine million yuan ($1.3 million) and four of the new Ghosts, starting at 5.1 million yuan.” The “connections” came cheap. On media days, there is a booming market for press passes outside of the show.

Aston Martin Aston Martin sold one of its super-luxury One-77s for 47 million yuan ($7.22 million.) “We don’t like to say it’s the most expensive car in the show, but we are pretty confident it will be,” Matthew Bennett, the Asia-Pacific director for British luxury car maker Aston Martin told AFP.

Despite a murderous 145 percent tax on imported luxury cars, China’s luxury car sales are expected to rise to more than 909,900 units this year, up from about 727,200 last year, according to forecasts by IHS Automotive.

China’s trend to conspicuous consumption might turn into its downfalls. There is rising public dissatisfaction with a widening wealth gap. The government is sensitive to this and has vowed to pursue more equitable growth in the future. As a first move, the government is clamping down on overly ostentatious displays of affection with dough. Already, Beijing’s government lashes out against billboards that advertise a flamboyant lifestyle. This is widely ignored. Now, Beijing handed down a regulation that hurts:

Beijing suddenly classified any vehicles beyond 6 meters (20 feet) as commercial vehicles, Automobilwoche [sub] reports. Meaning: They must stay in the truck lane and are banned from the ritzier thoroughfares. A billionaire might not reach his garage in the tonier parts of China’s capital.  As an answer, Rolls Royce did not just debut an extended wheelbase Ghost in Shanghai. Rolls also promised a shortened Phantom that skirts the 6 meter limit.

 

 

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Shanghai Motor Show: The Pad Fad http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-motor-show-the-pad-fad/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-motor-show-the-pad-fad/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2011 17:09:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392604

Aren’t iPads supposed to be in short supply, affected by the parts paralysis? The visitor of the Shanghai Auto Show wouldn’t know. Actually, if everybody would stop using the flat gizmos, just supplying car shows with them would be a great business. They are everywhere.At most large automakers, someone said: “I have a great idea: We will give all our booth ba …. I mean, productspecialists one of these iPads with a multimedia presentation.” “Super! It’s cool, and it’s green. Think about all the paper we save!”

Jaguar has them.

Volvo has them.

Fiat has them.

Mini has them. Mini pads?

BMW has them? Maxi pads?

Hyundai has more pads than babes. So they locked them up. The pads, not the babes.

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Shanghai Motor Show, Curbside Classic Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-motor-show-curbside-classic-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-motor-show-curbside-classic-edition/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2011 15:48:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392570

In Shanghai, you can see the latest cars, and the cars of the future with no future. You also can see a tiny bit of the past.

Citroen brought two classics.

The Traction Avant was popular with French gangsters, and also with the German Gestapo for the short years it could safely ride around Paris in a car. The car went into the annals as the Gangster Citroen.

This is a Citroen halftrack. In 1931, seven of them followed the Silk Road from Beirut to Beijing, a trip that took them a year and a half. Seven other halftracks left Tianjin on the Yellow Sea to meet them.

The expedition is lovingly documented at the show.

The competition at Renault brought one of their classics. I forgot to write down what it was and can’t look smart. Any ideas?

And a classic from America. The 1967 Camaro, Official Pace Car of the Indy 500.

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Shanghai Auto Show: BYD, Get A Handle On This http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-byd-get-a-handle-on-this/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-byd-get-a-handle-on-this/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2011 14:05:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392543

This is the BYD F0. I’ll leave it to the experts which other car this resembles. It reminds me a bit of that car, but maybe only because it’s so small and red. It should be red. It’s embarrassing.

The dashboard is a bit like this. But that’s what you get when mounting freestanding gauges.

That’s not the point of the story. When this guy climbed of the car, I saw an odd piece of plastic.

This was a door handle. If your car doesn’t survive the first day of the auto show without the door handle getting ripped off  …

… if the door handle remains unfixed on the second day of the show, and if your people turn their backs on the problem in their own booth, then you have no business making cars.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Foreigners Create Pseudo Chinese Brands http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-foreigners-create-pseudo-chinese-brands/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-foreigners-create-pseudo-chinese-brands/#comments Fri, 22 Apr 2011 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392470

When you have a larger joint venture with a Chinese automaker, at some point it will be strongly suggested to you to create a Chinese brand. At least this is how The Financial Times understands it: “Foreign carmakers wishing to build new plants or add capacity in China’s burgeoning car market are being told by the government that if they wish to expand, they must develop a low-cost local car brand.”

Early fruits of these suggestions can be seen at the Shanghai Auto Show.

First to listen to the government (or maybe two governments) was GM. GM started the BaoJun brand last year at their SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture.

GM has their BaoJun 630 at the show. In Red …

And in silver grey. The car sits on a Buick Excelle platform, but the body looks more like SAIC’s Roewe 350.

Under the hood, things look familiar. This is a 1.5 Liter GM Ecotec, also from the Roewe 350. The car is supposed to cost anywhere between $7,700 and $10,700. The car will go on sales shortly after the show.

The Honda/GAC joint venture is at the show with its Everus brand. The Everus S1 is pretty much a long-in-the-tooth Honda City.

The 2450mm wheelbase and the 1.3L/1.5L engine options will look familiar to the Honda connoisseur.

As far as budget cars go, the Everus is pricey. It will set you back between $10,700 and $15,300.

The Nissan-Dongfeng joint venture has its Venucia brand at the Shanghai show.

The blue car is a concept. In the first half of 2012, a real car will go to market, followed by a second model later in the year. Provenance and prices remain undisclosed.

The party line on these “Chinese” brands is that they make the car affordable to the working masses. As the Chevy Sail and the Volkswagen Jetta attest, a car does not need to be rebadged to become affordable. Actually, a new brand with separate sales and service operations adds to the price.

There is another calculation involved. A joint venture car is a car built under license. The license is held by the foreign joint venture partner. If brand and car are developed by the joint venture, then both are owned by the joint venture. The foreign partner will get its cut from the JV profits, but no income from license fees.

Even more importantly, the doors to export of the allegedly “Chinese” cars are wide open. The Chinese government is getting more and more disappointed by the low export numbers of Chinese cars and is seeking foreign assistance. The BaoJun is set to be exported to India. The license for a joint venture car usually comes with a contract that precludes exportation beyond China. If brand and car are developed by the joint venture, no such license contract.

Asked whether the Venucia brand will fit into Nissan’s emerging market strategy as a low-cost export to other lands, Akihiro Nakanishi, spokesman of the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture, said that “currently, there are no such plans.”

A foreign maker may not even want to wave its own flag. Truly low cost, Made-in-China cars can be exported to other markets without dilution of a higher positioned brand. Renault has shown this quite successfully in Europe with the reconstituted Dacia brand. Nicolae Ceausescu’s former private car company made a name for itself in Europe as a source of low-cost quality cars, and that without trampling on Renault’s turf too much.

GM's BaoJun. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt GM's BaoJun. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt GM's BaoJun. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt GM's BaoJun. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt IGM's BaoJun. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Honda's Everus. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Honda's Everus. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Honda's Everus. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Nissan's Venucia. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Nissan's Venucia. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt ]]>
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Shanghai Auto Show: Chery Gets The Girls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-chery-gets-the-girls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-chery-gets-the-girls/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 19:37:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392449

Chery doesn’t have much new stuff in its booth this year.

There is a QQme covered in rosepetals and the usual assortment of not-quite-ready-for-market electric prototypes every Chinese company fields. But Chery trumps every other car manufacturer at the Shanghai show in one respect: Women.

When I walked by their booth, I was impressed. 30 at least, up against the wall. China’s finest establishments do not have this variety of beauties.

When they trooped off stage  (exit left AND right) …

they were going …

and going …

and going …

and going …

 

… until the last stragglerette was gone.

I wish they had that many new cars! (That blue car on stage? I have no idea what it was.)

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Shanghai Auto Show: Test-driving Perisoft’s WRC Sim http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-test-driving-perisoft%e2%80%99s-wrc-sim/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-test-driving-perisoft%e2%80%99s-wrc-sim/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 18:42:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392440

As the luckless inventor of interactive video (at least when it comes to car shows), I usually avoid electronic attractions. But then, amongst TTAC’s Best and Brightest is Perisoft, developer of bitchen race simulators, and I absolutely had to test-drive the thing. If you are at the Shanghai Auto Show, it is at the Ford booth, in the left corner. Perisoft can remote into the machine from the U.S. to China, and we discussed cheating enhancing the performance of the simulator. We dropped the idea, because we didn’t want Perisoft to lose future business.

The simulator consists of three screens (made by Dell) and a cab that moves around. There also is a button that says “Motion Stop” – in case you get car sick, I guess. Before they let you drive, you need to sign a release form bigger than what I signed when I drove offshore race boats – a truly murderous undertaking at times.

The simulator would rank big in NHTSA’s database, would it go into the wild. There is no shifter, there is a gas pedal and a brake pedal. However, when you stomp on the brake, the car goes into reverse. A bit counterproductive.

The brains of the machine sit in a huge travel case with three screwdrivers on top of it. Hmmm.

When I started the thing, it crashed. The technicians in attendance perused keyboard and screwdrivers, and the machine rebooted.

Finally, I could race around the course. The guy before me had gone into the weeds and drove through spectators picnicking on the side of the racecourse. Something I tried to avoid.

I finished the course in 126.20 seconds. The technicians in attendance said: “Very good.”

I answered “you say that to all the guys,” collected my belongings and left.

I called Mr. Perisoft and he graciously opined that the time of the guy in front of me must not have been erased (it was) and that he had finished the course in 40 seconds. He extended a standing invitation to Jack Baruth to beat that. I don’t know what Jack would do, but I won’t floor the gas of a machine that goes in reverse when I hit the brake.

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Shanghai Auto Show: Why China Didn’t Want A HUMMER http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-why-china-didn%e2%80%99t-want-a-hummer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-why-china-didn%e2%80%99t-want-a-hummer/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 14:57:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392328

It becomes immediately clear why the Chinese government did not want an upstart manufacturer of bridge pontoons to buy HUMMER: Unnecessary duplication of what is has been available at state-owned Dongfeng for ages. They even have a Chinese version of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“No, he does NOT come with the car!”

Law enforcement version.

Inside of the law enforcement version.

 

The Dongfeng EQ2050. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Dongfeng EQ2050. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Dongfeng EQ2050. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Dongfeng EQ2050. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt ]]>
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Shanghai Auto Show: World’s Baddest Convertible http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-world%e2%80%99s-baddest-convertible/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-world%e2%80%99s-baddest-convertible/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 14:11:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392318

“Herr Professor Piech! I guess all of us here at the Volkswagen Group are still working on becoming the world’s largest auto maker … by 2018, that’s right.

In the meantime, we built the world’s largest convertible!”

I hope he won’t mind the Spaltmass …

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Shanghai Auto Show: Mercedes Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Joint Venture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-mercedes-imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-joint-venture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-mercedes-imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-joint-venture/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:47:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392310

No, this is not the Mercedes B Class. It is the Beijing Auto BC301. Supposedly, it is a blatant copypaste, performed by Daimler’s joint venture partner BAIC.

This is the real B Class. Come on, guys, where is the copy here? The colors are totally different! And the BC301 is fashionable matte.

(Honestly, after 2 days at the Shanghai Show, all these SUVlets look alike to me. It must be the Chinese food …)


Now here is something totally new: World premiere of the A-Class concept. It comes in three colors. Grey.

Blue.

And red.  Which one do you like best?

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Shanghai Auto Show: The Very Much Tinted M5 Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-the-very-much-tinted-m5-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-the-very-much-tinted-m5-concept/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 13:03:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392301

The attentive TTAC reader knew long before the Shanghai Auto Show what BMW would put on display. What they wanted to see were pictures of the inside of the M5 Concept. Attempts to fulfill that request were frustrated. First of all, access to the car is barred. A metal-glass barrier, along with an earpiece-toting muscular guard, make it impossible to fulfill the journalistic duty. Also, the glass of the car is heavily tinted. Not just from the side …

But also from the front. It is impossible to look inside. And most likely it is impossible to look outside also. My hunch: That concept doesn’t have an interior yet. Or maybe BMW did not want to send one to China just yet. It could appear in another car from another brand before the M5 ever goes on sale.

Other cars were much more accessible.

Long versions, such as this Siebener, are all the rage in China.

Don’t be fooled by the color of the Sechser convertible. The light was a bit pink.

BMW M5 Concept. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt BMW M5 Concept. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt BMW M3 Coupe. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt BMW 650i Convertible. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt BMW 750Li. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt ]]>
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Shanghai Auto Show: The All Chrome Buick Excelle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-the-all-chrome-buick-excelle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-the-all-chrome-buick-excelle/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2011 12:31:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392294

Remember the gold plated Infiniti that was arrested by Chinese police? Did you think that was a bit over the top? GM China shares your sentiments. Instead of gauche gold, GM China displays an all chrome Buick Excelle XT at the Shanghai Auto Show.

We are talking bumper to bumper chrome.

Some visitors could not believe their eyes. The car was clearly talking to their chromagnan inner self. Significant others had their eyes set on other cars, while leaving fingerprints in the chrome paintjob. How can a woman resist a mirror?

I did not dare to ask whether the thing will go on sale. I guess if there is enough interest ….

The chrome Buick Excelle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The chrome Buick Excelle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The chrome Buick Excelle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The chrome Buick Excelle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt ]]>
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Shanghai Auto Show: Launch Of The Retro Rockets – Bumblebee Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-launch-of-the-retro-rockets-%e2%80%93-bumblebee-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-launch-of-the-retro-rockets-%e2%80%93-bumblebee-edition/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 22:29:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392267

The fifth generation of that other legendary car was launched on China by Shanghai GM. Ample 50s cues were not spared. Rock’n’Roll and a historic Camaro were on hand that had served as the official pace car of the 1967 Indy 500.

The 60s don’t make the hearts pound in a Chinese – unless accompanied by a rendition of “The East is Red.”

What they get are the Transformers. Now THAT works in China.

Like the Beetle, the Camaro will not be built in China. It’s an import with a hefty price of RMB 455,800 (roundabout $70,000) for the 3.6-liter model.

The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy GM The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt The Camaro in China. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt ]]>
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Shanghai Auto Show: Launch Of The Retro Rockets – New New Beetle Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-launch-of-the-retro-rockets-%e2%80%93-new-new-beetle-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/shanghai-auto-show-launch-of-the-retro-rockets-%e2%80%93-new-new-beetle-edition/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 21:36:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=392234

It’s odd that China’s two largest carmakers, Volkswagen and GM chose Shanghai as the launchpad of their retro cars. After all, the 50s and 60s have zero appeal in China. Nobody thinks of Rock’n’Roll when they think back in China. Those were the forgotten times of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The iconic cars of China’s past are the Santana, the Buick Century, the Jeep Cherokee of the 1980s and 1990s.

73 years after the original Beetle was launched, 13 years since the first-edition New Beetle came out, a new New Beetle took the stage in Shanghai.

Volkswagen wisely dropped any historic cues. The beginnings of the Beetle were in a likewise dark era in Germany. Volkswagen also dropped the new in Beetle. After all, New New Beetle would have been a bit much.

Ulrich Hackenberg. Chief of R&D at Volkswagen said the Beetle has “added testosterone.” That’s needed, because the predecessor was pretty much of a lady’s car. Or a car for people who feel like ladies. The Beetle, or “Jia Ke Chong“ as they call it in China in the rare moments they ever see one (it is not locally produced) has a longer wheelbase, a bigger trunk, is less effeminate, and reminds more of the original Käfer.

Basic facts:

Market launch, North America: September / October 2011

Market launch, Europe: October / November 2011

Market launch, Asia: February 2012

Market launch, South America: late 2012 / early 2013

Engine power range: 77 kW / 105 PS to 147 kW / 200 PS

Lowest fuel consumption (combined), Europe: 4.3* l/100 km (1.6 TDI)

Fuel economy (combined) USA: 33 mpg* (2.0 TDI)

Engine specifications: all petrol engines are charged TSI engines (except 2.5-litre engine for USA); all diesels are new common rail TDI engines; all engines meet Euro-5 emissions standard; all US engines fulfil BIN5 / ULEV PZEV

Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Volkswagen Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt Volkswagen Beetle. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

 

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