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Shanghai Surprises

Shanghai Surprises

Back on the 12th April we mentioned that Ford were planning a surprise concept that would be revealed at the Shanghai show. Well, as good as their word they have revealed – an Escort! Bet you didn’t see that one coming; and you won’t either because it is not for the likes of us but rather for the burgeoning Chinese market. This is presumably because the Chinese have no understanding of the connotations behind the word ‘escort’. There it is in the image and very nice it looks too. Nothing remains to remind us of that late, unlamented car.

Other releases include the Maserati Ghibli, the Panamera Hybrid, the VW CrossBlue concept and a couple of others that we have already covered, including the bizarrely code-named Nissan Friend-ME. Other cars revealed include a couple of slightly odd – and some believe rather pointless – German cars.

First up is the BMW X4 concept. They call it a concept but it is believed to be pretty much what the production version will look like. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but to some observers it’s not really a looker – more Zellweger than Klum, if you see what we mean. More interestingly, some commentators are wondering, what is it for? Certainly the BMW X range of SUV’s has been a huge success but there is already four of them. Why this? Despite reservations it is sure to be a success – it is a BMW after all and that means great driving characteristics and all the attributes of the brand. No doubt it will find its niche.

Basically, the same thing goes for the Mercedes GLA concept. Essentially, it is a hiked-up crossover version of the A-Class. It is expected in the showrooms in 2015. The concept is loaded with some of that pointless showing off by the technology department at Mercedes – including laser beam projectors in the headlights – but who knows what will be acceptable in a couple of years time? Expect some engine advances though. This car should go up against the Audi Q3 and will cost around £40k in today’s money.

No show would be complete without another electric car. This time it is the limited edition SP-01 from Detroit Electric. It’s a sports car reputed to be the fastest yet and it is certainly eye-catching; but what’s the point? Sorry to be a killjoy but wouldn’t it be a good idea to spend the research money on a car that will actually work and sell in the real world? Plenty of drivers would like an EV that had good range provided it was within their budget which this patently is not. Nevertheless you can buy an SP-01 now.

With first deliveries of the spectacular F-Type currently in hand, It’s good to see Jaguar Land Rover flying the flag at Shanghai. China is a growing market for the JLR brand and they had their most successful month in March, selling nearly 8500 units. There is also hope for the MG name. They’ve previewed the MG3 supermini prior to it’s European release later this year. It would be great if this venerable name can truly be resurrected in the UK.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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