Tag Archive | "Shanghai motor show"

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.

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Be Friend-ME in Shanghai

Something happens to executives of motor companies when they give names to their concept cars, falling prey as they do to wild flights of fantasy. When new cars actually come onto the market they regain a modicum of decorum. Nissan for example – the company that brought you the excitingly named Note – have gone especially off their corporate rockers by naming their latest concept the Friend-ME (only teaser images available, sadly) which apparently features a consul described as unique and that allows “Four Seats, One Mind Connectivity – equal information sharing among all on board”. Boggling.

Another company struck by the curse of over-ripe language is Citroen who will be show-casing their concept SUV, the Wild Rubis. The plan is for this to be a new addition to the DS range and very good it looks too (pictured). It has been seen before in a previous concept incarnation, the DSX.

The Wild Rubis is designed to rival the Audi Q5 and the BMW X3. Citroen say that the SUV is primarily aimed at the Chinese market but could well make it to the UK where the DS range is proving very popular. It’s a bigger car than the Q5 and Citroen seem confident that a version will appear as this concept is described as the “ forerunner of the future DS SUV”.

The styling of this concept is dramatic. Roof rails that flow into the C-pillars augment the bold crease along the shoulder line. The ruby paint work apparently changes depending on the intensity of the prevailing light. Other details – engines, interior – are scarce but the company state that the Wild Rubis is a full plug-in hybrid.

This car is based, surprisingly, on the older C5 platform and will be built in China. It will be followed by a big saloon (seen in concept form as the Numero 9 shown last year at Beijing) and a smaller saloon; all of which are designed to cash in on the burgeoning Chinese auto market.

Also at Shanghai we can expect to see the new BMW X4, the coupé /SUV design of which is splitting opinion. The X4 will probably go on sale in 2014. Mercedes are expected to launch a new SUV based on the A-Class and Ford will announce a new global concept, about which they are being very secretive. Couple that with the arrival of the exquisite Maserati Ghibli and the revamped Porsche Panamera and we are in for another automotive treat.

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