China. Home to over 1.3 billion people, more than 100 car brands and the current subject of such fatigue-inducing corporate speak as ‘premium segment’, ‘growth potential’, overcapacity’, ‘customer segmentation’ and ‘brand positioning’. You still with us?
Car brands outside of China are absolutely desperate to harness the raw potential of the most populous country in the world, because it will make them lots of money. For example, the VW Group - comprising VW, Audi, Seat, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche, Skoda et al - will invest some €9.8 billion over the next three years; Jaguar Land Rover wants to increase its sales by 20 to 30 per cent, and even Peugeot says its biggest market is now in the Far East.
Which is all fine and dandy, but here at TopGear.com, you probably want a little more than business analysis, incredible though the numbers are. You want to see the Jinbei Big Sea Lion, the Jonway Aperta and a flame-liveried Geely monster truck. You want to see a gold minibus, you want to see a motorhome named ‘Wingle’, you want to see a gullwinged Buick and above all, you want to see a 6ft+ motorshow girl being mobbed by an enthusiastic and friendly crowd of Chinese auto show enthusiasts.
So CEOs may bang on about China’s car ownership - some 80-100 per 1000 people, still far less than this side of the world - but what’s the fun in a motor show without the ‘show’? Click through for TopGear.com’s sometimes unscientific rundown of the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show, with added guards and creepy baby dolls. Seriously.
Words: Vijay Pattni