2017 Shanghai Auto Show

Apr 19 2017
SHANGHAI National Center for Exhibition and Convention

New Energy Vehicles, Luxury Brands, and Home-Grown Goodness

Shanghai, China’s most cosmopolitan city in a country that has become a voracious consumer of automobiles, is the perfect place for manufacturers and suppliers to show their wares. The biannual show has become as important to the international automotive world as the events in Detroit, Tokyo, Frankfurt, and Paris. The 2017 show, hosted at the massive, clover-shaped National Center for Exhibition and Convention, gave attendees plenty to look at with over 1,400 vehicles on display.

China has a thriving domestic automotive industry, but it is also an exceptionally important market for international brands as well. Nearly every global brand is selling to the Chinese and many have established production facilities in the country as well. China is truly a global automotive bazar.

Shanghai Shows Off New Energy Vehicles

In a country that is notorious for its urban pollution, it’s not surprising that electric cars, or known in China as new energy vehicles, are big sellers. In 2016, the Chinese purchased over a 350,000 EVs. By comparison, only 159,000 new EVs hit the road during the same time frame. Part of the reason that electric vehicles are so popular with the Chinese is they have a much larger selection to choose from than most other markets.

In China, they have discovered that EVs don’t have to look like toasters. They select from luxury sedans, SUVs, and even sports cars. At the show, many Chinese brands were showing off the latest production and concept EVs including:

Warren Buffett backed BYD rolled out the Dynasty crossover concept. (Reuters/Aly Song)

BYD is China’s leading seller of EVs but had a reputation for boxy design. Not anymore. BYD signed Wolfgang Egger, formerly with Audi, to head up its design and the boost is obvious with the new Dynasty concept SUV and M5 Song Crossover on show.

Lynk & Co, Geely's new auto brand, rolled out its new 01 crossover(Newspress)

Hot on BYD’s heels is Geely who plans to disrupt the marketplace with a lifetime warranty and free connectivity on all its electric vehicles.

Changan unveiled its CS55 crossover (Reuters/Aly Song)

Chinese manufacturer Changan, in partnership with Ford, has created a commuter with 4 electric motors. It has the unique ability to travel sideways. The idea is to remove the challenge presented when trying to parallel park in tight spots. Simply pull up to the spot, turn the wheel and drive sideways to the curb.

GAC Trumpchi (Reuters/Aly Song)

GAC Trumpchi is planning to be the first Chinese vehicle imported to the United States. The seven-year-old car manufacturer has a loyal following and is poised to send its rugged, spacious, SUV to the states in 2019.

Shanghai Auto Show Loves Luxury

Even with a slowing economy, China has plenty of well-off people and they all have a taste for Western luxury vehicles. As recently as three decades ago, a Russian ZIL would have been the only “luxury” ride in the country. At the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, brands like Rolls Royce, Mercedes-Benz, McLaren, Cadillac, Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, Peugeot, Aston Martin, and dozens of others exhibited both concept designs and new launches.

Maserati saved rolling out its 100,000th Quattroporte Gransport sedan for the Shanghai Auto Show for a reason. "China is Maserati's largest market for Quattroporte in the world," said Maserati chief Reid Bigland. "Our remarkable performance in China last year was a major contributor to our record-breaking global sales. China's elites are enamored by the Italian blend of luxury, exquisite craftsmanship and passion for driving that goes into every Maserati." China made up 30% of Maserati’s total sales, the same market share as the U.S.A.

Volvo not only sells its upscale S90 sedan to China, but it also builds them in China as well. With about a third of the production sold in the country, the remaining balance is exported to the rest of the world.

Shanghai – An Auto Show of International Importance

Automotive manufacturers and suppliers worldwide understand the importance of the Shanghai show. China is a huge market and if you want to compete globally, you have to have a presence here.

Lincoln used the Shanghai Auto Show to launch the mid-size crossover Lincoln MKX and full-size Lincoln Navigator. BMW is displaying its first plug-in hybrid the X5 xDrive40e. Mercedes-Benz and Audi both unveiled new launches at the prestigious Detroit show before coming to the Shanghai Auto Show.

Overall there were 109 vehicles making their global debut. On top of that, there were 103 “new energy vehicles” on exhibit, an amazing number of EVs. Shanghai and its biannual partner Beijing are two automotive shows you can not miss if you are in the business.