Special edition models go on show in China
BEIJING, April 25 — Auto China opens to the public this week, with the world’s automakers launching dozens of new products designed to lure increasingly wealthy Chinese consumers from domestic brands to well-known names.
As it is the year of the dragon in China, there are plenty of models designed specifically for the market which play on the auspicious symbol, including a dragon-themed Jeep with gold dragon accents on the exterior and headrests.
Also channelling dragons was Aston Martin, which revealed the Dragon 88 Limited Edition trim for its models, complete with gold plating, gold and red exterior colour choices and ten-spoke “dragon edition” alloy wheels.
Other automakers paid homage to Chinese culture in different ways — Bentley drafting in Jackie Chan to open its new dealership, the largest in Asia, in Beijing ahead of the show to sell the new 4.0L, twin turbocharged Continental GT V8 for the first time.
At the other end of the scale, automakers were keen to continue chipping away at the lead they have gained on China’s domestic automakers by launching products aimed at the country’s city-dwellers.
Ford gained plenty of headlines by announcing that it plans to sell cars in China at a lower price point than its budget US$12,300 (RM36,900) Fiesta model in China’s rapidly developing mid-tier cities, a move that will give Chinese buyers access to the cheapest Ford models on the planet.
Fiat, meanwhile, announced plans for the Viaggio, a four-door sedan which is set to launch in the summer with a 1.4L engine.
French automaker Renault appears to be after a similar market with the Talisman, aimed at young business men and women who are looking for a model which fits both personal and business needs.
It will go head-to-head with the new Lavida by Volkswagen, a similar model to the Passat which was also newly launched at the show with a large engine and is intended to help the Lavida maintain its popularity among Chinese models.
Auto China opens to the public April 27 and runs through May 2. — AFP/Relaxnews