It is a fact that the Chinese auto market has become a top priority for the world’s largest automakers…
…and along with the fact, the Shanghai Auto Show 2015 has quickly become one of the most important stops on the auto show circuit.
Serving as a:
place to showcase for Chinese domestic automakers;
imports aimed specifically at the Chinese market;
and a large number of concepts…
…this Auto Show can also offer a unique look into the growing and evolving Chinese market, together with a look at what we can expect from automakers in the coming years.
Starting with supercars and continuing with everyday crossovers, this year’s show was an exciting, interesting and mixed showcase of the familiar, futuristic, and flat-out strange.
Even if these types of models are intended to gain an edge in the world’s largest auto market, the growing globalization of product lines would mean a large number of these cars will one day wind up in U.S. driveways too.
As a result of the increasing focus on the Chinese market, this Auto Show comes with a clearer picture of the situation of the global auto industry than most other international auto shows.
From production ready models to futuristic, here are 8 cars that made headlines from this year’s busy Shanghai Auto Show:
1. Chevrolet FNR
Despite the fact that most car makers have attempted to make autonomous cars look as mundane as possible…
…Chevy went all in with the electric self-driving FNR Concept.
Having a look like something from Back to the Future II, the FNR ditches the push-button start for a retinal scanner that fires up the car once it detects the owner’s iris.
After the car is in action, the front seats swivel à la Mercedes-Benz F-015 concept to make some sort of rolling lounge.
The FNR will never see production, but it is good to see that a coming up future with this kind of cars doesn’t have to be boring.
2. Audi Prologue Allroad
The process of development of Audi’s attractive Prologue design language goes on with its latest Allroad concept.
Being a more rugged version compared to the Concept Estate that have its debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show…
…this Allroad is a far cry from its awkward plastic-clad A6-based namesake that made an appearance in the showrooms 16 years ago.
The station wagon segment has been already due for a comeback, and having a longroof as attractive as the Prologue Allroad, it just could be enough to remind the public of what they’re missing out on.
3. Ford Taurus
It’s been touch-and-go for the once mighty Taurus after it lost the title of “America’s best-selling car” to the Toyota Camry in 1997.
Almost 20 years after, Ford gains hopes it can get back some of the old magic with an all-new upscale Taurus targeted for the Chinese market.
Having a stylish and elegant design that is influenced by the Ford Fusion/Mondeo and an interior that could even make a Mercedes owner jealous…
…Ford is putting some hopes that the emerging Chinese middle class will show interest for this model like the American buyers did in the ’80s.
Ford will launch a similar (but less luxurious) U.S.-spec version later this year.
4. Honda Concept D
Honda has decided to use the Shanghai Auto Show 2015 to present its most angular model since the ’80s with the severe-looking Concept D.
Designed with hard angles, wide vents, and aggressive stance this model may scream “styling exercise,”…
…but Honda says that the Concept D previews a flagship SUV that is “currently being developed exclusively for the Chinese domestic market.”
This styling may be polarizing to some, but the Concept D is the perfect SUV for many people that loved the Honda’s Civic Concept but need something a little bigger for the family.
5. McLaren 540C
This is what it looks like once a supercar company moves “downmarket.”
Priced at approximately $165,000, this model is the “entry level” sports car from McLaren…
For the price, you get a Formula 1-style carbon fiber and aluminum car powered by a mid-engined 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 533 horsepower and a top speed of 199 miles per hour.
McLaren states that the 540C had been created “with a greater focus on day-to-day usability” than its other cars.
However, it may not be the most practical entry level car on the market, but it might be the most exciting.
6. MG GS
To paraphrase the old cliché, the rumors of MG’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
After they face with a bankrupt in 2005, this iconic British brand was acquired by the Chinese company SAIC Motor and continues to sell rebooted MGs in Europe since 2007.
The Chinese-designed iGS presents a stylish and practical compact crossover which roughly is sized like the Honda CR-V, and is set to go on sale in China later this year.
7. Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe
Mercedes may have done a redefining of the meaning of the designation “coupe” when it applied it to its four-door CLS-Class in 2004.
In a game of one-upmanship, BMW took the “coupe” designation even further and bafflingly applied it to its SUVs, the X4 and X6.
Showing no will to be outdone, Mercedes presented its newest coupe:
Although it is officially a concept, Mercedes says the “SUV world of Mercedes-Benz has room for further models, such as a production version of the Concept GLC Coupé,” highly hinting that a production model could be coming sooner rather than later.
8. Qoros PHEV 2 Concept
Although Chinese cars come with a reputation for being either incredibly bland or blatant (and illegal) rip-offs of Western models…
…the PHEV 2 Concept coming from the Chinese-Israeli company Qoros has been a surprise hit in Shanghai, having an exciting real-world usability and thoroughly modern looks.
Even though the model is borrowing a few obvious Cadillac design cues for its front fascia, this muscular little crossover can be considered as a plug-in hybrid with enough personality to give the Kia Soul and the Nissan Juke a run for their money.
If this is the direction of Chinese cars, then the day when Chinese automakers score an international hit may not be too far off.