Jaguar, MG and Volkswagen are among those with key new cars at China’s biggest annual motor show
The Guangzhou motor show is China’s largest annual motor show, and the 2017 event kicks off on Friday with a whole host of global model debuts.
The motor show has traditionally been overlooked by foreign car makers for model debuts, with these tending to be focused on the rotating Shanghai and Beijing motor shows in the spring.
Not so this year, with more and more international brands joining domestic Chinese ones in revealing key models, the highlights of which are below.
The significance of this long-wheelbase version of the Jaguar XE should not be overlooked. In JLR’s Q2 results last year, the XE sales were reported at 11,176 to the XF’s 7963. This year, the XE was 8831 to the XF’s 10,256, the increase of the latter accounted for by a long-wheelbase version built and sold in China. Now the XE gets the same, with even higher hopes for sales given it competes in a higher-volume segment.
We recently visited Changan’s home city of Chongqing to hear of its plans in time for a European launch and to sample two of its smartly-styled SUVs for the domestic market. Less can be said of Changan’s latest SUV, the X70A, which is a backwards step that sadly continues the unwelcome trend of copycat design still prevalent among some of China’s car makers. Land Rover Discovery 4 in that side profile, anyone?
The most famous of the aforementioned copycat cars, the Landwind X7 returns to the Guangzhou show three years after it caused a stir there, now with a new look. Said new look moves it further away from the Range Rover Evoque it took its ‘creative inspiration’, to put it mildly, from, although there’s no getting away from its origins, evidenced by its proportions and profile.
Great Wall Motors-owned Haval makes two of China’s best-selling SUVs, the compact, 4.1-metre-long H2 and the larger, 4.6m-metre-long H6. The gap between the two has now been filled with the H4, which will go on sale in China early next year. A sportier H4c version is also at the show.
GAC iSpace concept
Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) is on home territory this week and will show a pod-like autonomous car with artificial intelligence as its chief exhibit. The concept, one of few genuine concept cars at the Guangzhou show, uses technology developed by China’s vast media giant Tencent, which owns messenger app WeChat and recently invested in Snapchat. Tencent is known to want to get into automotive development.
Leap Motor LP-S01
China has a new electric sports car, the creation of start-up Leap Motor. The LP-S01 is a small, oddly proportioned two-door with a sole electric motor for the front axle producing 168bhp and 184lb ft. It’s good for 0-62mph in 6.9sec, a 118mph top speed and a 224-mile range. The LP-S01 is production-ready, but Leap doesn’t yet have a factory to build it in – it’s still being built and will be ready in August next year.
China is Volkswagen’s single biggest market – last month, it sold nine times as many cars there as in Germany. And it’s about to embark on an SUV offensive over the next few years, starting with a locally produced version of the T-Roc, inspired by the T-Rocstar concept at the Guangzhou show, in 2018. Between now and 2025, VW plans to launch more than 30 SUVs and electric cars to the Chinese market, the two key areas for growth.
Chinese-owned MG is showing the second-generation 6 saloon in Guangzhou. It promises several significant improvements over the previous model, which was quietly axed in the UK a couple of years ago. Its design, both inside and out, is much smarter, technology is improved, and a plug-in hybrid version could be offered, based around a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine. A UK-spec 6 is due to be revealed in the spring and go on sale this time next year.
From the creator of the Nio EP9, holder of the Nürburgring lap record, comes the electric car maker’s first mass-market car, the Nio ES8. It was shown earlier this year as the mostly thinly veiled of concepts in Shanghai and now arrives in final production form in Guangzhou. Performance is impressive from this big seven-seat, near-5.0m-long electric SUV: it can crack 0-62mph in just 4.4sec.
The old German company reborn under Chinese ownership adds a third SUV, the BX6, to its range. As its name suggests, the BX6 sits between the BX5 and BX7. The 4.6m-long SUV has a slightly unusual profile due to it having a pronounced boot rather than a more traditional sloping hatchback. A 221bhp turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine tops the range.