Blog: BEIJING MOTOR SHOW: every new model
Glenn Brooks | 21 April 2014
The most important motor show of this year in the world's largest vehicle market saw the home brands becoming ever more serious. In contrast to previous AutoChina shows, BAIC, Brilliance, BYD, Chery Auto, Dongfeng, GAC, GWM, JAC, Lifan, Great Wall and Zotye each had a small number of pre-production prototypes rather than multiple frivolous design studies - a reaction to the slowing of economic expansion in Q1? Undoubtedly, but also a response to their overall share of the market shrinking in recent quarters as that of Japanese, Korean, European and US vehicle manufacturers rises.
From a journalistic point of view, the days of sloppily translated media releases from Chinese car companies haven't disappeared but they're fading - a further sign that even the state-run OEMs now understand that florid and/or nonsensical language damages them. So, where manufacturers have provided information about their world premiere vehicles in a password-free media release, we have included this via a link in the model or concept's name.
Apart from the alphabetical listing of global debuts by brand, and as a sometimes necessary froth-busting antedote to marketing-speak, there is also a one-sentence summary for every concept, new model or future vehicle. As part of creating these short summaries, much time was spent over the long weekend checking and rechecking dimensions and images of all the new cars. Why? So that, for example, our readers will know that the Citroën C-XR is unrelated to the Peugeot 2008, in contrast to what many media have published (how did these guys not notice this future crossover has the same doors as the Peugeot 301 and C-Elysée?). Loads more detail for more than 1,600 other global models is available in PLDB which, incidentally, now contains freshly updated facts and figures for all vehicles which were world debuts in Beijing.
My own favourite car of the show was also one of the biggest surprises: the Dongfeng Number 1 concept. One of the immediate benefits of taking a shareholding in PSA is access to platforms which had once been off limits. Scoff, or as I did, smile when hearing that this giant limousine uses the former Citroën C6 as its basis. A production model is in the works for 2016, which means Dongfeng will probably beat PSA's DS division to market with an elegant, high-priced luxury flagship. For where Dongfeng and certain other Chinese automakers might be by 2020, think Hyundai: it once used other manufacturers' cast-off platforms, now heads of state are using its Equus sedan plus its Genesis models are catching Lexus. And even Toyota admits that the Chinese in general are closing the branding and quality gaps at a faster rate than what Korean makes began to do 10 years ago.