Autocar 2012 Guangzhou motor show report and gallery

Discussion in 'News Feeds' started by Autocar, Friday 23rd Nov, 2012.

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    guangzhou-ford-focus-st-1. The Guangzhou motor show is rapidly rising in profile thanks to a number of local big-name car makers The Guangzhou Auto Show is an interesting one. Not quite as important as Beijing or Shanghai but still home to a plethora of new model launches.
    Japanese brands were the biggest draw on the day, not because of their model launches but because of territorial issues between China and Japan. Chinese consumers have reacted strongly to the perceived slight by avoiding Japanese products. Sales for Japanese brands across China are down 50 per cent.
    Guangzhou is considered the back yard of the Japanese car brands in China; both Toyota and Honda have partnerships with Guangzhou Auto, and Nissan is in the next province but sees strong sales in Guangdong province.
    Toyota announced it was a strong friend of China. Honda and Nissan had similar messages, promising to work together to find peaceful solutions. But the underlying message was: we need to increase our sales.
    MG launched the MG6 diesel for the first time in China. It’s unclear if it will be sold in China or if the Guangzhou show was a platform to promote the firm’s technological progress. Oddly, the car, badged locally as MG6 DESL, was launched surrounded by black smoke.
    The electric Roewe E50 was shown to the public after a small launch in Shanghai last month. The E50 is SAIC’s first production electric car and is rumoured to become an MG at a later date. A full charge will provide a 118mph range, and will take 30 minutes to achieve an 80 per cent charge. A full charge will take six hours. Performance is below average, with a 0-62mph time of 14sec and by local standards it’s expensive, at 230,000RMB (£23,000).
    Peugeot’s elderly 207 (it’s actually a 206 with a 207 face grafted on) was turned into a crossover by the addition of black plastic cladding and roof rails, a common tactic in China. The much-needed 208 is supposedly coming late next year, so the crossover has to maintain the car’s profile until then.
    Peugeot and Citroen have been slow to provide for the Chinese market. Chinese consumers like thrifty petrol engines and automatic gearboxes; Peugeot sold cars with four-speed gearboxes and fairly inefficient petrol engines, hampering initial sales. This is now changing, especially with the locally made 3008, tailored more to Chinese buyers with 2.0-litre petrol and 1.6-litre turbo engines along with a six-speed automatic ’box.
    Ford launched its revamped Fiesta as the ‘All new Ford Fiesta’ with the latest wide grille from the European Mondeo. The Chinese media seems to like the car, which it's called the ‘People’s Aston Martin’. The new 1.0-litre three-cylinder will replace the 1.6 petrol.
    Ford also showed a Focus ST, although there are no immediate plans to sell the car in China. Ford often shows cars that may or may not be coming here, which helps to create headlines and interest in the brand, although there is the option of a locally made Golf GTI, available now.
    The Focus is sold alongside the last generation of the car, called Focus Classic, and the two models are generating serious volume sales for Ford.
    The 2013 Subaru Forester was launched in Guangzhou with two faces. The regular Forester looks much like the last generation model, albeit with a considerably improved interior – it’s now on a par with other Japanese SUV offerings, such as the RAV4 and C-RV.
    The range topping 2.0-litre turbo has the more aggressive face and the engine that most buyers will want. Subaru’s plans to build cars in China were scuppered earlier this year when the Chinese government denied plans for Subaru’s joint venture with Chery. Still, Subaru seems to be doing okay with its range of imported cars, although the strong yen makes Subaru’s products relatively pricey in China and there is talk of Subaru importing its products from America, which should cut prices.
    Ash Sutcliffe


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