Fri, April 22, 2011
Technology > Technology > 2011 Shanghai International Auto Show

Shanghai auto surprises: all the wacky concepts

2011-04-22 07:24:36 GMT2011-04-22 15:24:36(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

China's Changan's Voss people-mover concept at the Shanghai Auto Show.

The Shanghai Auto Show has served up its usual buffet of Chinese clones and quirky machines.

The booming Chinese car industry has long been accused of "borrowing" heavily from international car makers, with cars closely mirroring the styling of some of the world's most famous cars, most notably Mini.

But this year it seems two, not one, foreign cars is the style template.

Chinese brand Great Wall Motors, which already sells in New Zealand, unveiled the Haval IF concept which looked suspiciously like a cross between an Audi and BMW's X6.

The high-riding SUV features the same "four-door coupe" styling of the X6 while the front and rear styling is very reminiscent of Audi's handiwork.

Geely, which owns Swedish brand Volvo, produced one of the showstoppers, for the wrong reasons, the Emgrand EC6-RVmini concept. It takes "inspiration" from both the Mini Cooper and Suzuki Swift, to create a "unique" look that is sure to polarise opinion.

Geely's real star though, was the McCar; and before you ask, no, you don’t get fries with it. It stands for Motorcycle Car because inside the electric hatchback is an electric motorcycle. Geely says it's under serious consideration for production and could be ready as soon as 2012.

Changan, a state-owned company, produced contrasting concepts. One looked like closely related to the recent Volkswagen Kombi concept but the other was a rare original design.

The Changan Sense concept is a dramatically styled large sedan that points to a more upmarket future for the brand that has previously focused on small, cheap cars.

The decision to move upmarket for a lot of Chinese brands comes as a booming middle class hungers for more luxurious cars.

China is now the world’s biggest car market so manufacturers from around the world are using this week’s Shanghai show to try and extend their reach into the lucrative region. Audi, BMW, Citroen, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Subaru, Volvo and Chevrolet all used the Chinese show for global car reveals.

Volkswagen is the biggest brand in China so it was a fitting place to unveil the re-born (for a second time) Beetle. The new Bug has ditched its cutesy, free-love image for a sportier and more aggressive style.

Chevrolet took the covers off one of Holden's most important new cars, the Malibu mid-size sedan. It is set to arrive Down Under wearing a Holden badge next year to tackle the popular Toyota Camry.

It will fill the gap between the strong selling Commodore and Cruze and could be crucial to catching Toyota in the sales race.

(Agencies)

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