It is a no-brainer; a country so immensely large that its borders know no boundaries, coupled with a population that makes it the world’s largest, there will definitely be a hungry demand for automobiles, which has become a deeming necessity in a rapidly growing tech-savvy society. To meet that demand, it is plain common sense for car manufacturers to enter such a market, to cater to the various needs of people from all demographics of life.
Enter China, the world’s largest nation with its population of 1.35 billion citizens. Known for its manufacturing prowess amongst other nations, the country has become a great economic giant in the global trade industry, thanks to the abundance of labour that the country possesses. Rapid urban growth, prospering wealth and the raised median of higher education has on an overall, increased the material demand for automobiles. With such large societal shifts, the reason for owning a vehicle in China has evolved from a mean of transportation into something more personal, bordering on the boundaries of vanity and a form of financial wellbeing.
Such is the reason to host one of the largest consumer and commercial automotive shows on the planet; the Shanghai Auto Show 2013. Held on the 21st to the 29th of April 2013 in the globally influenced city of Shanghai where finance, fashion, technology, commerce and culture come together as a whole, it was the right place to start an automotive show from the very beginning. Combined with the fact that fame and fortune is the name of Shanghai’s game, it has drawn the many automotive makers and manufacturers from all over the world to display their very best to the Chinese, as well as the potential business expansion opportunity or possible partnership
here in booming China.
Consumers were split between the many exhibitors, namely the range of affordable vehicles from Honda, who displayed their ever-popular range of cars; from the mid-sized saloon Honda Accord, to the urban designed Honda City and sporty Honda Fit hatchback. Seizing the opportunity at the Shanghai Auto Show, Honda showcased its latest creation for the Chinese market; the Concept M, a new-value MPV concept that offered the attributes of a passenger car while adding value through a combination of a comfortable and spacious cabin while retaining a fun-to-drive feel.
Subaru tagged along and with its true motorsports heritage and culture, showed off its latest rear-wheel driven BRZ with several other of its popular offerings, such as the Forester and Impreza WRX STi. If there is one automobile-maker who has a definite share of the global car sales’ pie, it would be . The Japanese automobile giant spared no expense at bringing down its latest offerings for the world to feast their eyes on; the latest facelift Toyota Camry in various trims, such as the Special Edition in racing trim and the VIP styled Classical model.
Toyota Vios and Yaris models were also present, as Toyota’s answer to its rivals’ mid-sized sedan and compact hatches. It’s overseas’ arm Lexus, displayed the Lexus Concept, a two coupe that infuses a futuristic take on its current lineup that can clearly be seen on its front bumper and grille, while showing off their executive range, consisting of the IS, GS and CT series. Not wanting to be left out of the great sales potential in China, European car makers were also out in force, vying for a slice of the ever-increasing car demand from the Chinese population.
There was a wide variety of automobiles, from the daily-driven Volkswagen Jetta sedan for the average folk, to the Golf Cabriolet for the lifestyle-going manager, with Audi in tow with their range of mid-sized saloons; the Audi S3 and S6, for instance. Mercedes-Benz dropped the bomb with the new A-Class in sports trim and gorgeous design mountain grey magno finish that was a far cry from its predecessor in terms of both design and specifications.
To keep AMG fans entertained, upgrade packages for the SLK roadster and C-Class Coupe were on display to wow with the brakes, exhausts and body kit additions. As Infiniti displayed their impressive Q50 luxury sedan, BMW retained the attention with its ‘Series’ lineup, along with its performance platform M-series, which were truly a hit with the Chinese.
Supercars were in abundance as well. Maserati, seized the opportunity to unveil the Ghibli, while showcasing its usual fanfare of Gran Turismo and Quattroporte. The crowds got a glimpse of the relatively unheard-of Icona Vulcano, a hyper-car produced by a former Ferrari powertrain technical director. Given a V12 engine that is mated to electric motors, the Vulcano is capable of 900 horsepower and does a blistering top speed of
350km/h, while clearing the 0-200km/ h mark in less than 10 seconds. Glamour and glitz from the Ferrari and Lamborghini lineup included the amazing La Ferrari and several limited edition versions of the Murcielago, as British royalty was represented by Aston Martin and Jaguar, each respectively showing off their own royal luxuries; from Vantages to the XKR, including the Aston Martin DB5 that was featured in the recent James Bond flick “Skyfall”.
With so much more from even their local market, the Chinese who visited the week-long Shanghai Auto Show 2013 definitely left with more questions than answers; “Which should I buy?”, “That was good, but
I didn’t expect this to be better!”. Indeed, with Chinese moving up as one of the most tech-savvy and well-informed people on earth, it is no surprise, why everyone wants a slurp of “The Chinese Noodle”, from cars
designed for the typical commuter to the wealthy businessman who wants to drive up to a meeting in absolute style, there is a market that is waiting to be tapped, and to kick-start it off, what better way than to host an exhibition, that was Shanghai Auto Show 2013.
Text: Aaron Hia