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      04-26-2011, 05:01 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Shanghai Surprise: Reflections on 2011 Shanghai Auto Show

Shanghai Surprise
Reflection on the Shanghai Autoshow.

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Soon to close it's doors for another two years , the Shanghai autoshow has come from being a strictly China showcase to a full global event. Which completely outclassed the recent New York Autoshow.

Why Lead the charge to Shanghai?
Reflecting the explosion of wealth in the world's most populous country,
Sales of luxury car brands are increasing at an accelerating rate. China which has 115 billionaires according to Forbes magazine's 2011 list --is second only to the United States.
China is the new battleground for premium car makers.
Audi will announce later this year that China is their largest market.
Lamborghini , Porsche and Aston Martin largest market is China.
Rolls-Royce will surpass the United States as their largest market with China. and by 2016 both Mercedes-Benz and BMW largest markets will be China.

BMW Group comprising of BMW , MINI and Rolls-Royce all featured World Premieres as did Mercedes-Benz , Audi , Volkswagen , Citroen , Porsche and many others.

In terms of scale the Shanghai autoshow held within the new exhibition center is almost on the same level as the larger bi-annual IAA exhibition in Frankfurt , Germany. Whilst home manufactures at the IAA take over single halls to showcase their models. For the European contingent it was almost closer than you think.

For Global manufacturers the future market is China.

Rolls-Royce unveiled their China edition Ghost models aswell as an Extended Wheelbase Ghost on the account of it's 600% sales rise.
On Press day alone , Rolls-Royce sold 2 Phantoms and 4 Ghosts on the first day of the show. I am told by colleagues that they have sold around ten cars in total since last Tuesday. A Phantom, in China (base price before additional personalisation is nine million yuan where a Ghost costs 5.1 million yuan again before personalisation.

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The Goodwood inspired MINI also went down a bomb in Shanghai
Fuelling the demand for luxury based consumer products.
Again interest was noted prior to official release details.

The European Contingent.

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Introduced via a special VIP Preview on the eve of the show was BMW's showcase models. Beginning with the China 5er Li "New Energy Vehicle" Concept with Design chief Adrian Van Hooydunk introduced the 6er Convertible via a design angle and finally Dr-Kay Segler introduced the BMW Concept M5.

The BMW stand contained MINI and BMW whilst Rolls-Royce was located with the other "luxury" brands.

BMW's stand was split into sections - which you began with the 1er ,3er , 5er right up to seperate sections for 6er , 7er and the X family.
M had a seperate section with an example of each M car alongside the new family member the M5 Concept.

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BMW's primary focus was on the local 5er Li New Energy Vehicle Concept car a car defined as "From China , For China".

The BMW 6er Coupe to which BMW showcased it's flagship Coupe in two versions of 650i and one 640i accompanied by the 6er Convertible.

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Fresh from Geneva in March, BMW brought the Vision Connected Drive and MINI Rocketman Concept cars.

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And of course the main attraction the BMW Concept M5. Which made it's appearance in Shanghai on the back of a 355% sales increase of M sales. To further BMW M's commitment to the China market , a market BMW consider that by 2016 China will surpass the US to be M's largest market.

Brought an entire contingent of the M family from the Baby recently introduced BMW 1M Coupe to an M3 (Which is sold in China without Carbon Fibre roof) and the storming BMW M SAV's X5M and X6M ironically, China is the largest market for the BMW M twins.

I met a customer ,female early twenties who has an X6M, now to compare and contrast with my daughter around the same age who drives a MINI, it is worlds apart.

Over at Mercedes-Benz the big news was on the global premiere of the A-Klasse Concept Car , though Maybach was not forgotten which again the largest market for Maybach is China, in the past year the majority of Maybach's went to China instead of other markets. Which presents Maybach/Daimler with a problem - do they kill the brand or develop it now that the worlds largest luxury car market has responded to the product?

Audi brought forth the Q3 SUV. whilst plain and inoffensive it lacks the sportiness defined by the Shanghai 2007 Cross Coupe Quattro Concept.
Also on the stand was an electric A3 Sedan - The Geneva Concept with new wheels and a new color scheme. Shanghai was possibly the only show where you could see the Q7 V12 Tdi Quattro as other shows tend to focus on the V6 or V8 Tdi models for local markets.

Lamborghini brought not one , not two but three Aventador's , the cars earmarked for the Chinese market are sold out till 2013.

Porsche brought their 918 RSR Concept Car to star alongside it's Panamera Hybrid and Turbo S models but behind closed doors you could see the next performance edition of the outgoing 911 , not quite for Public viewing yet but available for China's millionaires.

Bentley brought their latest models Mulsanne and Continental GT , aswell as a China edition of the soon-to-be outgoing Flying Spur.

Car of the show?

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For a preview of a production model I would have to say the Mercedes-Benz A-Klasse Concept even in it's embarrassing sing-along breakdown debut.
This was the only clear photograph I could get due to the car's popularity. Interestingly enough with the departure of the original A-Klasse it seems that the upcoming B-Klasse will be the A-klasse's (in Concept) replacement.


For concept car.

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Volvo's concept Universe had some nice touches especially to the coupe-esque roofline . The front end of the car needs to be seen in real-life form as photographs do not grasp the overall 3-D effect.

Production Car of the show.

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Citroen's DS5 was interesting in a way because it is a van which is not a van and actually shows you of the idea BMW are investigating for it's Family Activity Sports Tourers for both 1er and 3er - Sportier, higher Tourings with the outline of a car but with the space of an MPV inside without looking like a van on the outside.
I am not a fan of the fan of the DS3 (That B-pillar is just weird) and the DS4 which seems to have an identity crisis. I like the fact that the DS5 is something entirely new and actually suits the design DNA of the DS family.

The usual going-ons
Benchmarking in the latest European models were rife. Normally engineers are discreet in Europe but here was more of a swarm , I saw a couple of benchmarkers in the 6er Coupe use a stopwatch to time the raising and lowering of the 650i Coupes Bang and Olufsen central speaker aswell as time recording of individual actions of the car , such as idrive.

Xerox-phobia?
If you remember the Brilliance A3 which looked like an X1 bar some minor changes? Well the BMW Board went completely batshit crazy over the car and ordered it to be pulled from the stand of Brilliance.
Given that they are partners in China. BMW gave the ultimatum .
The car is apparently now being redesigned.

Given that in 2007 BMW unveiled the Concept CS @ Shanghai. HAd things stayed on schedule with no economic crisis. Then we would have seen the World premiere of the production car in Shanghai this week.
But given that a Chinese show occurs every year next April BMW will unveil the production model of the 2010 Beijing Concept Car - The Gran Coupe in Beijing next April 2012.
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      04-27-2011, 09:15 AM   #2
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Must admit , the merc look good.
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      04-27-2011, 09:31 AM   #3
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      04-27-2011, 10:52 AM   #4
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Scott, with China becoming such a large and growing market for BMW, is there any chance the CS concept could become a reality??
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      04-27-2011, 03:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Scott, with China becoming such a large and growing market for BMW, is there any chance the CS concept could become a reality??
Currently all focus is on the 6er Gran Coupe which will premiere in under a years time. But Gran Coupe 6er is smaller and aimed at the mid-level Coupe/Sedan segment than the flagship the CS was intended to be.

The original CS Concept introduced at Shanghai 2007 was conceived as the " A Bridge to Rolls-Royce from BMW" and it was scheduled to come to the market in 2011 until the crisis hit.

With the next 7er anything is possible, especially in regards to projections of Premium car makers selling 1.6 million units of high-end premium models in China by 2015.
I am sure that BMW will want a high percentage from the premium market in China on the route to selling two million units globally by 2020.
And a resurgence of the CS would help them achieve that goal.
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      04-27-2011, 10:22 PM   #6
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nice scott
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      04-28-2011, 07:21 AM   #7
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Nice reportage.
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      04-28-2011, 08:05 AM   #8
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Good stuff!
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      04-28-2011, 12:12 PM   #9
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A lot of great news
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