The Rolls-Royce and Ferrari stands sit alongside one another in the halls of the Beijing auto show. I took these two pictures less than a minute apart, having stood for quite a while watching the throngs of photographers milling around the two stands.
While it’s far from a scientific observation, I thought it interesting how much more popular the Rolls-Royce stand was proving. Literally hundreds of Chinese were queueing up to have pictures taken by friends of them with the Phantom or Ghost in the background. Yet at Ferrari, it was comparatively quiet.
In Europe, I’d judge the opposite to be true, you’re typically unable to get close to even the barrier of the Ferrari stand at the average motor show. Which made me ask the question – in China, what value does sporting pedigree have? Ferrari would probably say they are a sport-luxury brand. But in China, Ferrari’s sporting and motorsport heritage is much less well know. Given that so much of what we know and value the brand for in Europe and North American markets is connected to this motorsport history, does that mean a sport-orientated luxury or premium brands carries less value here?
By Joe Simpson
This is the Shouwang BCHD-1. Shouwang is one of many new brands that the Chinese government have mandated foreign brands launch in order to continue to sell cars in China. Shouwang is from Hyundai and is a collaboration between the Korean firm and Beijing automotive. It employs a ‘cut-out’ design theme, which sees sections of bodywork removed around the grille, A-pillar, C-pillar and trunk deck to make elements of the car (such as the A-pillars) appear as though they are floating. Proportionally quite premium, to our eyes and without knowing the exact numbers, the package appears to closely resemble that of an E60 BMW 5-series. The overall aesthetic however, reminds us more of recent Infiniti production cars.
Previewing a forthcoming production car, what really caught our eye was how dirty and covered in dust this concept was – as if it had been hanging around in a grubby hanger for a while before being wheeled onto the motorshow stand. Like many concepts here, it also goes without an interior, sadly. Blatant design mistakes are notable too – for instance where the top of the windscreen meets the roof, the two surfaces come together to form a negative dip or ‘hole’ at the header rail. They’re the kind of things that take the shine off what is a promising start for a brand new name.
Posted by Joe Simpson