Fighting for a golden Lianhua
We continue on my ranking of the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Beijing Auto Show, now going from disappointing to neutral to ok with the ranks #25 to #21. This is Part 3 of my Beijing Auto Show 2014 coverage, you can see Part 1- First impressions here and Part 2 – Most impressive Chinese carmakers #30 to #26 here.
Having presented the Qoros 3 hatchback in Geneva nearly two months ago, Qoros had nothing new in Beijing, which is kind of an issue when they only sold a few hundred units here since the start of the year and their main market is still supposed to be China and by far. Yes the interior is top notch, yes everything is looking all (too) serious and German clean, but I didn’t feel any excitement or urgency for that matter, given the low sales and rumoured humongous marketing budget already spent to establish the brand. Not sure where Qoros is going but it is getting there slowly. Same story for Foton, I was very impressed with tough-looking versions of the Tunland pick-up at the Manila Auto Show one year ago and I saw the same ones here. These two brands are on standby as far as I am concerned.
The Brilliance H230 EV was just about the only funky thing on the Brilliance stand.
We are now getting into (slight) positive territory with Brilliance, which has been trying to use its joint-venture with BMW to position itself as affordable premium in the Chinese market, with prices ranging from RMB55,800 to 130,800. Unfortunately there wasn’t much brilliance on the Brilliance stand apart from a H230 EV satisfyingly funky inside and out and a lazily facelifted V5. Can do better, hopefully.
Lianhua L6 Sportback
Nothing beats the feeling of a stand deserted by its staff. Not. There wasn’t much love at Lianhua, however sharply designed cars, ergonomic, solid if unimaginative interiors, a rather robust sound when closing doors and a fun car painted in gold more than made up for it.
Even less-known outside of China than most Chinese carmakers, JMC gave off a reassuringly world-class feeling in its stand strategically located next to Ford’s drab Transit display. In comparison, the JMC S350 looked premium, without superfluous design elements and ready for any task, achieving the feat of making the entire JMC range look better with the help of a giant screen praising its off-road capacities with convincing desert shots. Well done.
Lots of models on a small stand for Lifan, all with very different degrees of quality: from the new flagship 820 sedan to the richly equipped 720, the trendy X50 mini SUV and the disappointingly rustic 530 sedan. Lifan earns bonus points for bringing soccer superstar Luis Figo all the way from Portugal, even though he himself didn’t seem to know exactly why he was here. A big success with the Chinese press however.
The next batch (#20 to #16) will be published shortly.
More photos below.