So, Who Wants To Go To The Beijing Motor Show?
The Beijing Motor Show is underway in a sprawling exhibition centre full of bright lights and glitz. This is the first post-pandemic car show in the world and as a result, is being touted as a testament to the country’s victory over the Wuhan Flu, which of course did originate in China as well.
I will not be attending this year, much like many tens of thousands of other international Motor Hacks like myself. A couple of my friends in China have gone along to the event and apparently, apart from the masks, it is very much like any previous Beijing Motor Show, with showgirls in their sexy dresses giving out merchandise to the ever-eager public that throng around the stands. A little old school really compared to the rest of the world.
There she is…
Even though it is called the Beijing Motor Show, the official name is International Auto China and as usual, there is a plethora of Chinese brands on show and no premieres of non-Chinese cars. Much of what was new wasn’t really new – this was just the first chance for the companies to exhibit them, much like the Volvo/Geely mash-up that is the Polestar that was supposed to have been debut to the world in Geneva back in March. Of course, the Polestar is already on sale and experiencing its first recall by the time it made a show debut.
So, what else was on show that wasn’t Chinese? Well, Maserati did unveil their very own supercar, the MC20, which did, of course, get the public excited, and Honda brought along a new electric SUV concept, and Kia their new Carnival MPV (sorry, don’t hit the snooze button). Rolls-Royce did go all out to put their long-wheelbase Ghost on show and, I presume, on sale as well.
Chinese brands do get a lot of interest in these events, if not for the reason that Chinese consumers seem to be very patriotic with their buying habits then for the relative cost of the Chinese-branded items on offer – after all, foreign brands are taxed a lot more heavily and will be unless Trump gets in – probably. Okay, forget the politics because over at MG, that venerable British brand that of course has nothing to do with the UK anymore, had a lot of interest in their Linghang, which I am told means “pilot”. This is the updated HS, a product that is doing real well in a number of countries around South East Asia.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane?…No, it is the Hongqi E-HS9.
The show-stealer, though, in many respects was the offering from Hongqi, the brand that used to make all the cars for Chinese politicians. They showed off their E-HS9 all-electric high-sided sedan (or is that SUV) which is allegedly capable of 0-100 in just four seconds. If you think that it looks fairly Rolls-Royce-like then you are forgiven as their former designer, Giles Taylor, is now at Hongqi.