The infancy of the Chinese car industry dictates that the general public has zero perception of what brands – some of which have been around for ten times longer than this country’s entire mass car market – have achieved.
When westerners think of MG or DS, images of historic, evokative cars appear, yet here they are simply two letters. Even Ferrari has none of its mystique here. And so to contextualise brands and their new products, many brands are educating visitors of their past glories. While Ferrari, Lotus and MG use video montage to create an impression of their histories, Citroen’s solution is far more appealing – simply park a gorgeous DS 23 Pallas on the stand.
By Owen Ready
As the overall level of Chinese design rises so the clangers become more apparent. As JAC unveiled its very competent (Italian-designed) S2 SUV on one side of its stand, the S11 sat at the opposite end, most physically and metaphorically.
It’s the kind of mashup that perpetuates the myth that Chinese car design is purely a case of ctrl+C, ctrl+V. You can see for yourself that each third of this miserable debutant has been lifted from a familiar source – the front of a Lotus concept (circa Paris 2010), the center of an Audi R8 (complete with side blade and air inlet) finished off by a Ferrari California tail.
But if the copycat elements weren’t bad enough, there’s a blindness to the application of the elements – why add mock air intakes behind the doors when the engine’s in the front? And why add the awkward roofline and rear deck of a folding hardtop model when the roof is fixed?
There is good, original car design in China. However this isn’t it.
By Owen Ready