Shanghai Motor Show 2013

Posted: April 23, 2013 by The Car Spy in Motor Shows, New Models, Shows
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The Shanghai Auto Show first appeared on the merry-go-round of motor car exhibitions way back in 1985 but since it is held every two years the current one is only the 15th so far.

However, if by chance you managed to visit the inaugural event in 1985 you might have noticed a few changes between now and then.

Not least of which there seem to be more home-grown car manufacturers in China these days than there are stars in the sky and if you live anywhere outside of China the chances are you have never heard of any of them.

Acura, Besturn, Brilliance, BYD, Changan, Dongfen, Everus – there is at least one for every letter of the alphabet right down to ZAP and Zoyte.

Make no mistake, China is very serious about its place in the world of car manufacturing and it has a home market that easily dwarfs the rest of the world put together. That is why you have never come across the likes of Youngman, Red Flag, Lifen, Luxgen et al in your local car dealership. They just never needed to sell you one of their cars – until now that is.

Actually they still don’t need to sell you one but now they want to.

We all know that MG is owned by SAIC because it is a typically British brand steeped in the country’s automotive history and there was many a spilt cup of tea when the brand was finally sold off to an unknown Chinese consortium. The media ran stories hinting that the sale of MG was the beginning of the end for the British car industry. We now know of course that their doom-mongering was unfounded on so many levels.

The curious thing is that today MG is likely to represent the thin edge of a very fat wedge of other Chinese car-makers that have plans to bite off a big chunk of market share in Europe.

OK one look at the designs of a lot of the domestic fodder looks a tad dated through European eyes but the cars are built for Chinese tastes and they sell by the bucket loads there. Over-sized headlamps seem to be ‘a la mode’ right now.

However, look at some of the concepts on display and there is a glimpse of what is likely to come. Acura, Beijing Auto, Chery and good old MG are leaning towards a lot of the design trends seen in European concepts seen recently at Geneva. It wont be long before many an original design creation will be coming from China.

Take a look at the Icona Vulcano. Probably the most exciting-looking car at the show and Ferrari must have wished the Vulcano wasn’t there because it was drawing too much attention away from the LaFerrari. They must also be hoping that the Vulcano never goes into production either.

The high-profile mass-producers of Europe must also be nervous. Most of them have seen big falls in sales recently whilst accruing big losses and that can’t last for much longer. The arrival of competing models from China will only compound the problem for all of them and the Chinese have very deep pockets too.

There may still be a way to go for the cars from China to compete head-on with the designs from Europe and elsewhere but the gap is closing fast. The Beijing Show next year should be an interesting one.

Highlights of the Shanghai Show for us this year?

The Icona Vulcano – definitely the star of the show

BMW M6 Gran Coupe – if only all BMW’s looked this good

Buick Riviera – GM will never make this elegant car but maybe there will be design cues used in its new models in future

Chery Leaf Concept – looks like a futuristic Renault Twizy

Geely KC Concept – shows that the Chinese are catching up fast to the Koreans

Hyundai Rohens Concept – shows that the Koreans are starting to overtake everybody else

KIA Cub Concept – we’ve said it before but KIA really should make this car

Peugeot Onyx – if Peugeot ends up going down the pan there are a few of its designers that will find another job after producing this stunner

MG CS SUV – it would be nice if MG could come into the market with something a little more exciting – maybe this is the car to create a stir for the company

All of the Toyota Concepts – can’t find a dud amongst them and they have gone the extra mile with their adventurous designs this year

ZAP! Aptera – looks like a flying car but can’t – fly that is. Will attract more attention than a LaFerrari – got a better name too!

Red Flag L9 – so retro it looks cool. Hard to believe the top bods in the Chinese government still waft around in 50’s Americana lookalikes.

In the meantime enjoy our gallery of images from the show in Shanghai this year…….

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