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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are a respectable auto manufacturer, better don’t show up at the Shanghai Auto Show (open to the public on April 21) without an EV or at least a hybrid. Not that there is a huge demand. Despite lavish subsidies (in Beijing, I could collect $9,000 from the government for driving an EV, an amount the city will supposedly double – a moot point if I don’t get lucky in the license plate lottery), where was I, despite lavish subsidies, the take rate in China remains minuscule.
Wharton says that ”EV sales today account for only 0.06% of all vehicle sales in China.” Hybrids? Google leaves us in the dark. This does not discourage consultants from McKinsey on down from promising that China will be a bonanza for new energy vehicles. On top of that, the government wants it. One of the many companies to show up with a green car in Shanghai is BMW.
And finally, a car for the working masses. Never seen or sold before in Asia, we present to you: The new BMW 1 Series Coupe and the new BMW 1 Series Convertible. They look cute. And one is shown in the requisite red. Topless Einser gallery after the jump. Right this way ..
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- Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.
- Lorenzo They may as well put a conventional key ignition in a steel box with a padlock. Anything electronic is more likely to lock out the owner than someone trying to steal the car.
- Lorenzo Another misleading article. If they're giving away Chargers, people can drive that when they need longer range, and leave the EV for grocery runs and zipping around town. But they're not giving away Chargers, thy're giving away chargers. What a letdown. What good are chargers in California or Nashville when the power goes out?
- Luke42 I'm only buying EVs from here on out (when I have the option), so whoever backs off on their EV plans loses a shot at my business.
- Dusterdude When there is a strike the union leadership talk about “brothers and sisters “ . They should give up that charade . Bottom line is they are trying to wring out every last penny they can and could care less ( putting it politely) about the future of the industry 5 - 10 years+ down the road