BBC Autos

Compelling cars of the 2013 Shanghai motor show

  • Shanghai calling

    Alternating each year with the Beijing motor show, Auto Shanghai has evolved into the Frankfurt motor show of Asia.

    Like that event in Germany’s financial capital, the Shanghai salon, which runs throughout the week, tempers its smattering of flamboyant concepts with a heaping of production-bound machinery. The majority of vehicles on display will directly impact the profits and perception of their makers.

    Chinese manufacturers have hired away executives from European and American automakers in recent years to acquire some of the quality control know-how and distinctive styling of world-class brands. And with each iteration, the Shanghai show demonstrates that the domestic market has wizened.

    Western automakers, meanwhile, are ecstatic to sell their products in the world’s largest auto market, even as they gird themselves for Chinese companies’ inevitable push into the markets they have long dominated. Taking a look at the highlights from Shanghai– as we do here – that reckoning appears closer than ever.

  • Geely KC Concept

    With former Volvo design chief Peter Horbury at the reins of Geely, Volvo’s parent since 2010, a premium note has crept into the Chinese carmaker’s mass-market approach. The KC Concept’s familial inheritance from Volvo, however, may raise some eyebrows. Its grille is a dead ringer for that worn by Horbury’s Volvo Concept Universe, shown at the 2011 Shanghai salon. (Newspress)

  • Volkswagen CrossBlue Coupe

    Another handsome crossover from Volkswagen, which has made a habit of previewing conceptual people-movers at major international auto shows. “This concept vehicle will undoubtedly have an influence on future SUV models,” Klaus Bischoff, head of design for Volkswagen, said. The words may bring on déjà vu for anyone familiar with the CrossBlue shown in Detroit this year, or the CrossCoupe TDI Concept in Geneva in 2012. The plug-in hybrid concept in Shanghai, producing in excess of 400 horsepower, has no production date associated with it – just like its recent predecessors. (Newspress)

  • Ford Escort

    Expected to slate between the Fiesta and Focus in China, the Escort represents a resurrected Ford nameplate as well as an exercise in segment crowding. All over the world, Fiesta pricing can nudge right up against that of the larger, more refined Focus. How the Escort insinuates itself into that conversation is an open question, but one that Ford – which commands but a fraction of the Chinese market share enjoyed by General Motors – is obviously keen to explore. (Newspress)

  • Citroën DS Wild Rubis

    Citroën continues to stretch the parameters of its DS model line, unveiling a sport crossover concept in Shanghai bearing a plug-in gasoline-electric powertrain and blinding full-LED wraparound headlights. Like its compatriots Renault and Peugeot, Citroën has a robust presence in Shanghai, a further indication that anaemic market conditions in Europe are forcing companies to look to China to bolster their bottom lines. (Newspress)

  • Chang’an R95 Concept

    A sinewy crossover reflecting levels of daring and finesse that are commonly the preserve of the French, the R95 Concept, by state-owned Chang’an, is among the most confident designs on display at the Shanghai Expo Centre. (Newspress)

  • Chery Ant 2.0

    The successor to an equally head-scratching personal mobility concept unveiled in 2012 at the Beijing show, the Ant 2.0 electric two-seater would couple with other Ants on the road to travel convoy-style to their presumably shared destination. (Newspress)

  • Lamborghini Aventador LP-720 50 Anniversario

    The Aventador has been on sale for less than a year, but Lamborghini has already earmarked its flagship for a special edition, built in a run of 200 (100 coupes, 100 roadsters) to honour the supercar manufacturer’s 50th anniversary. The commemorative Aventador receives a 20-horsepower increase over the commoner version, bringing total output to 720hp, as well as the requisite bespoke badging and one-off shade of yellow paint. The premium over the basic Aventador’s roughly $400,000 price tag was not disclosed. (Newspress)

  • BMW Concept X4

    Just as the new 3 Series Gran Turismo seems more agreeable than the ungainly 5 Series Gran Turismo, BMW’s fastback-bodied Concept X4 seems considerably more likeable than the cartoonish X6. Only superficially conceptual, the Concept X4 presages a production model, assembled at BMW’s sparkling factory in South Carolina, that is expected to reach showrooms early next year. (Newspress)

  • Nissan Friend-ME Concept

    With this curvaceous design exercise, Nissan makes a pre-emptive bid for the hearts and minds of what is bound to become China’s largest segment of buyers – the 240 million young drivers, mostly male, born during the 1980s, a group known as the Bālínghòu. The Friend-ME's cabin delivers maximum connectivity and interactivity to its four hipster occupants, each of which can share music and other digital whatnots via the car’s HAL 9000-like command centre, a device called the Oracle Stone. Kids these days. (Newspress)

  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA

    A wholly attractive follow-up to the terrifying Ener-G-Force concept from last year’s Los Angeles auto show, the Concept GLA is to the GLK what the new CLA is to the C-Class: somewhat more petite and a good deal sportier. The GLA’s sheet metal seems showroom-ready, as does the powertrain: a turbocharged 2-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive. (Newspress)

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