Guangzhou Auto Show: Will Chinese Luxury Cars Have Their Coming-Out Party?

The Guangzhou Auto Show, Set To Take Place From Nov. 24-30, To Showcase Dozens Of New Domestic and Foreign Models

Auto Guangzhou has become one of China's most popular annual auto shows, rivaling Beijing and Shanghai

Auto Guangzhou has become one of China's most popular annual auto shows, rivaling Beijing and Shanghai

The shift in auto industry momentum towards China and other emerging markets will be very much on display next week, as the 7th annual Guangzhou Auto Show kicks off in South China’s trade and commerce hub. With approximately 50 foreign and domestic automakers taking part in the show, and high-profile debuts like the Rolls-Royce Ghost, Roewe 350, Renault Laguna Coupe and Clio RS, and the Geely Emgrand EC7 series set to draw the attention of the world’s automotive media, Auto Guangzhou 2009 looks to be the polar opposite of this year’s Tokyo Auto Show.

Rolls-Royce Ghost aside, the stars of the show this year will arguably be the Chinese automakers, the global interest in whom has only grown in the last year due to high-visibility endorsements like Warren Buffet’s investment in BYD. Although Chinese automakers have increased exports over the past few years — mainly to smaller markets like Vietnam and some SouthAmerican countries — they still have yet to create a luxury or even mid-range vehicle that can compete with foreign brands and appeal to a wider global audience. Although some companies, like Geely with its controversial GE, have made moves in this direction over the course of this year, it hasn’t been enough to shake the perception of Chinese automobiles as being sub-par. This doesn’t mean domestic car companies have dropped their luxury aspirations, however. If anything, they’ve intensified their efforts, and the Guangzhou Auto Show will be their second high-profile chance this year to show the world that they’re capable of world-class luxury and quality.

This year, a couple of higher-end Chinese models set to debut at Auto Guangzhou really stand out:

Brilliance BS6 Hybrid

Brilliance's much-improved BS6 Hybrid should turn heads this year, although the company will have to work overtime to convince skeptical audiences of the car's crash-worthiness

Brilliance's much-improved BS6 Hybrid should turn heads this year, although the company will have to work overtime to convince skeptical audiences of the car's crash-worthiness

Brilliance has gone back to the drawing board for their updated BS6 Hybrid, significantly reinforcing the frame (the original model’s most significant flaw, as anyone who has seen the video of a 2007 BS6 vaporizing upon impact remembers) and popping in a next-generation nickel hydrogen batteries. Combined with the car’s more efficient 1.8L engine, Brilliance claims the BS6 Hybrid will use around 35% less fuel. Although the BS6 Hybrid is expected to be on the pricey side, it’s definitely a step in the right direction if Chinese automakers are looking to appeal to foreign buyers — who increasingly put equal priority on good looks, safety, and maximum fuel efficiency — in coming years.

 

Geely Emgrand EC7-RV

Geely's Emgrand series makes up the company's higher-end range

Geely's Emgrand series makes up the company's higher-end range

Geely’s higher-end Emgrand series gets a facelift for the Guangzhou Auto Show, showing off clean lines and an improved interior. After the Geely GE fiasco during  this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, Geely is looking to break from its reputation for low-priced, mediocre-quality vehicles and show that it has the potential to compete with Audi and Volkswagen in its home market. According to GoChinaAuto, this new Emgrand series will be Geely’s first foray into hatchbacks, which have taken ages to catch on in the China market.

More information about new cars set to launch at the Guangzhou Auto Show can be found at the always-excellent China Car Times blog.

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