LIASE Group Managing Director Asia Vanessa Moriel chats with Johan De Nysschen, Executive Vice President, General Motors, and President of Cadillac.
LIASE Group Managing Director Vanessa Moriel and her team attended Auto China 2016 in Beijing. As the automotive world bore down on the Chinese capital for China’s most important automotive event of the year, LIASE Group team met with a number of regional and global automotive executives, and was present for this year’s major reveals and announcements.
Held every second year, in alternation with the Shanghai exhibition, this year’s Beijing auto show once again attracted carmakers from across the globe. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of members of the public in attendance, more than 14,000 journalists from over 40 countries covered the event, held from April 25 to May 4. Visitors to the show were not disappointed as 1,179 vehicles were exhibited by over one hundred manufacturers.
Innovation to Transformation
“Innovation to Transformation” was this year’s theme, and exhibitors delivered.
Amongst international OEMS, Audi showed off its powerful new TT RS, a sports coupe which can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds. Audi also revealed the Connected Mobility Concept Q3, which features a motorized longboard stored in the rear bumper. When the car detects that traffic conditions become too slow, it prompts you to break out the longboard and whiz there instead.
Meanwhile, Mercedes unveiled The Smart Brabus, a sportier and more souped-up version of the ForTwo and ForFour.
Lovers of luxury and sports cars were treated to a slew of beautiful unveilings and debuts. Bentley launched the head-turning First Edition, a limited availability luxury saloon car with wood trim interiors. Porsche presented the 718 Cayman, promising better performance and fuel economy. Jaguar’s debuted the new luxury XF saloon, which features options for backseat Wi-Fi, electric blinds and massaging seats. And Volvo presented a renovated concept interior, the S90 Excellence, which forgoes the front passenger seat in exchange for expanded legroom and unobstructed view for the chauffeured rear passenger, not to mention heated footrests and chilled drinks from the mini-fridge.
Chinese OEMs Show their Colors
Many homegrown Chinese firms also made their mark at this year’s exhibition, particularly within the exciting electric car market.
Beijing-based LeEco unveiled its new concept electric sedan, the LeSEE, heralded by some as a challenger to Tesla’s Model S. Designed as a fully autonomous car, it will work in tandem with the firm’s product ecosystem including a smartphone, virtual reality and TV.
Anhui-based Chery revealed the ultra-modern FV 2030 plug-in hybrid concept, designed in partnership with Jaguar Land Rover.
Continued Dominance of SUVs
SUVs continued to be all the rage this year, although OEMs have increasingly been pumping out more fuel-efficient models.
Volkswagen unveiled its new flagship concept, the T-Prime Concept GTE, which is fully-electric until the 50 km/h mark, at which point it switches into gas power. And Infiniti released the QX Inspiration, possibly to replace its previous QX50 model.
Meanwhile, Geely launched the Emgrand GS SUV, which will soon be available in the UK. Changan Auto, a Chongqing-based manufacturer, presented the affordable CS35 SUV, which it hopes will overtake international models in China. SAIC Motor unveiled the new Roewe ERX5, which will intergrate Internet technology developed through a new partnership with Alibaba.
Global Automotive Executives Attend in Force
Prominent attendees from the global automotive industry at this year’s event included:
- Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn;
- Ford CEO Mark Fields;
- GM CEO Mary Barra;
- Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth;
- Volvo Cars President and Chief Executive Officer Hakan Samuelsson;
- Audi CEO Rupert Stadler;
- BMW AG Chair of the Supervisory Board Norbert Reithofer;
- Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart;
- PSA Peugeot Citroen CEO Carlos Tavares;
- Volkswagen Member of the Board responsible for China Jochem Heizmann;
- Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer;
- Lamborghini President and CEO Stephan Winkelmann; and,
- Mercedes Benz Head of Marketing Ola Kallenius.