China

China

There are two things that are a part of nearly every auto show: sexy cars and equally appealing women. With the latter often comes clothing that leaves very little to the imagination. Well apparently, the Capital Ethics Development Office of China – the morality police, per se – decided that it wanted none of it, as they reprimanded the Beijing Auto Show officials for such scantily clad women, per a report from Bloomberg.

From what we saw of the Beijing Auto Show , the number of skin-flaunting women wasn’t nearly as high as we are used to, so we are left wondering what exactly the Chinese government wants. There were, of course, the obligatory more-skin-than-clothes models, but for the most part the women were dressed pretty moderately for an auto show, and the video from Bloomberg (above) shows them.

We totally understand that the Chinese government is more reserved than most, but c’mon, it’s an auto show. Who is mostly drawn to auto shows? The answer is, primarily men in their 30s and 40s. What do most men in their 30s and 40s like just about as much as cars? Well, we think you can figure it out…

We guess we’ll just have to see what happens next year at the Beijing Auto Show. We certainly hope the women aren’t prancing around in pant suits – eek. If so, we will all use a lot less space on our digital cameras.

Source: Bloomberg
Ferrari 458 Italia China Special Edition

The last thing any automaker wants to do at this point in time is insult the fastest growing automotive market in the world, but this is exactly what Ferrari has achieved when it took its 458 Italia China Edition for a little joyride in China.

You see, China is now a local distributor for the Italian firm, so Ferrari paid $12,000 for permission to drive the 458 Italia China Edition on the Zhonghua Gate Tower in Nanjing, a 600-year-old historical site. This would have been acceptable, except for the fact that a dealer employee - not a Ferrari official - was caught doing ’doughnuts’ and wheel spinning on the ramparts during the night. And it was filmed.

China takes its culture and tradition very seriously, so these acts were entirely unacceptable on such a monument. Ferrari was quick to apologize for this daring and disrespectful act, and the culprit was disciplined by the dealership. Ferrari even took it a step further by promising to work with authorities and local officials to repair any damage.

"Ferrari is fully at the disposal of the local authority to solve the situation. At the same time Ferrari has asked the dealer to take immediate action with the employee who had such regrettable behavior," said the company.

Hit the jump to see the car doing the dirty deed in China.

Source: Sky

Remember the days when vans were cool? You know, you would cruise down the strip in your mom’s minivan and pick up all of your friends to head out to the coolest hangout spots… Oh wait, vans were never cool, what were we thinking? Well, that is until Mercedes decided to get into the van-making business.

At the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz rolled into the show with its all-new customized Viano VISION DIAMOND. This ultra-luxury van, which is not yet available in the U.S., puts most modern-day limos to shame with its features. Add in the fact that it is large enough to move around in comfortably, unlike limos, which typically have standard headroom, and you have essentially a luxury home on the go.

Mercedes did not release too much information on this machine, but there is enough information obtainable just by looking at it to determine that this thing is flat out awesome. The Viano VISION DIAMOND would certainly eliminate any kids embarrassment of riding to school in a minivan, if this just so happened to be said minivan.

Click past the jump to check out our full review on the Viano VISION DIAMOND.

Two weeks ago, we all had an LOL and OMG moment at the expense of Lotus, as a member of the failing company, which we assume to be head honcho himself, Dany Bahar, went berserk on Facebook. We all rant sometimes, but it was truly a high school-style “Wah” fest about who said what and so on.

As we put it after reading said Facebook post, which is still on Lotus’s site, the company that recently inherited Lotus from Proton , DRB-Hicom, would not likely deal with this immaturity too long. It rings especially true when you take into account that Lotus never turned a profit for Proton and currently has more than $316 million in debts.

Well, guess what… Reports have emerged that DRB-Hicom is actively shopping Lotus , and its money sucking black hole, to various Chinese companies. Things are obviously getting serious, as the U.K. government even put a hold on the £10 million (about $16 million) grant that it issued to aid in Lotus’ anticipated expansion out of fear of losing the struggling sports car builder to a Chinese company.

The question that begs to be asked is who in their right mind would purchase Lotus for anything more than a few spare tires and a couple boxes of spark plugs? Of course, at this point DRB-Hicom just might find a better use for some spare tires and spark plugs than it can for Lotus.

There is likely some company in China that will pick up Lotus for just enough to cover its debts, then maybe attempt to revive its name. We will continue to monitor this situation as it unfolds and update you as new information comes down the pipe.

Source: AutoCar

The 2012 Beijing Auto Show is fast becoming an automotive showcase for the Chinese market as more and more automakers are introducing concept vehicles that have specially developed specifically for the Chinese market.

The latest to do so is Honda , which is unveiling two concept vehicles, one of which is the Concept C sedan. Details are scarce at this point about the car, but according to a Honda press release, the "C" in the concept’s name represents "Cool", "Challenge", and "China".

Honda also said that the Concept C will be a middle-class sedan that the company is currently developing through a cooperation between development teams in both Japan and China. The production model will be made available in China next year through Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., Ltd.

As for the car itself, the Concept C is an aggressively designed vehicle that’s highlighted by its rather large dimensions and a muscular rear end, creating an aggressive yet elegant look that plays right into the tastes of the Chinese market. The concept also carries three major side veins adding to the menacing side profile while the front end receives a distinctive central grille and bumper set up with a pair of huge intakes on both ends of the bumper.

Powertrain options for the Concept C were not divulged, but rest assured that we’ll have them for you information becomes available.

For a long time we have been screaming from the hilltops that Toyota has been wasting its No. 1 slot in the hybrid market by releasing boring hybrids, like the Prius . Well, Toyota is about to release yet another hybrid concept and we can only hope that it is not more of the same stuff we have seen for the past decade.

The details are a little sketchy on this new hybrid concept, but Toyota did release a pair of teaser images, which look pretty neat from what we can see. The front headlights appear to be normal old headlights on the outside, then as they work toward the center of the car, the lights turn a shade of light blue. Not only is the ambient lighting sweet, but from the silhouette this thing looks nothing like the Prius.

In a way, it has styling similar to the NS4 concept that Toyota revealed at Geneva, which Toyota made clear was not coming into production. Rather, the NS4 was being used to test different features that would make their way into showrooms. This may be one of the cars featuring those NS4-like cues that are heading to showroom floors.

There are rumors circulating that the reason this car is only being revealed in Beijing is because the car will be available in China only. We don’t quite see a point of releasing a hybrid in the Chinese market yet, as it is still a developing market. The likely reason for a Beijing release and not a New York release is so it didn’t steal the new Avalon ’s thunder.

The Beijing auto show opens up to the press today and we are sure that Toyota won’t wait long after that to unveil this new gas-electric machine. We will keep you updated as much as we can on this soon-to-be-unveiled hybrid, as we obtain more information.

Back in 2009, we reported that little-known Chinese car manufacturer Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings Co. Ltd., which fortunately goes by the acronym BAIC, officially purchased the intellectual rights to the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 . It was a rather odd transaction, to say the least, as few people knew what BAIC’s plans were with these rights.

Well, BAIC has officially come forward to let us all know the plan. There are two BAIC cars making their debuts at the Beijing Auto Show, which opens to the press on April 23rd and the general public on the 27th, one of which we know is based on the Saab 9-3.

The Saab 9-3-based model is dubbed the C70, but that is about where our knowledge stops, as BAIC has kept a pretty tight lid on the happenings on at their office. We can speculate that the C70 will feature a Saab engine, likely the 210-horsepower 2.0-liter used in the final 9-3.

The larger BAIC C80K is the most likely home for the high-output Saab V-6 from the defunct 9-5 . This model has a little more info available, as BAIC teased us with a few images of the upcoming vehicle. From what we can tell from its outside, this vehicle appears to be designed to compete with the likes of BMW , Mercedes , and maybe even Bentley , but that 3.0-liter V-6 wouldn’t hold a candle to those makes. This makes it a possibility that the C80K’s engine is an in-house build.

Really cool, yet potentially dangerous, features on the C80K are the B-pillar-less suicide doors. This looks really cool, by giving one wide open entry with both doors open, but could potentially weaken the structural integrity significantly. We also know that the C80k will measure in at 205 inches long and 75 inches wide.

That’s about all we know right now about these new BAIC models, except that they will only be available in China. We will pass along more details as they come along.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 3
Bentley EXP 9 F

The U.S. has long been Ferrari ’s, Lamborghini ’s, and Bentley ’s largest market partly due to its massive population, but mainly because Americans really love their exotic cars. However, just last year China overtook the U.S. as Lamborghini Lamborghini ’s biggest market, and became Ferrari Ferrari ’s second largest market. If you want further evidence of just how popular luxurious cars are becoming in China, then take a look at the title.

Yep, China has become Bentley’s largest market after a massive increase in sales in the first quarter of this year. An incredible 578 Bentley models have been sold in China thus far, while ‘only’ 450 units were sold in the U.S. However, sales in the U.S. did grow by 40% from this time last year, so that just goes to show how incredible the Chinese market currently is.

It’s literally come out of the shadows in the past few years to become the focal point of dozens of automotive manufacturers. However, with China’s economy beginning to slow, Bentley’s chief operating officer, Christophe Georges believes these figures won’t be maintained stating, “The Chinese and U.S. markets are both strong. I don’t see (China’s lead) as a permanent situation.”

One of the key reasons why Georges believes the U.S. will remain Bentley’s largest market in the long run is due to new showrooms being constructed in Nashville, Thousand Oaks, and Charlotte. Furthermore, Bentley is expected to launch a brand new SUV in the coming three years, and while the Chinese do indeed love their SUVs, they cannot match the love for them that Americans have.

Source: Wards Auto

What happens when an "American" car, like the Dodge Dart , wants an Italian name but also wants to live in China? You give up yet? You get the Viaggio, Fiat’s newest sedan coming to Chinese dealerships in late-2012.

We have all come to grips with the fact that the Dart is essentially just an Alfa Romeo Giulietta in a different wrapper. Now Fiat is about to confuse all of us even more by essentially taking the Dodge Dart Dodge Dart ’s blueprints to China and manufacturing the Viaggio. From the teaser images Fiat released, we can tell that the only difference between the front end of a Dart and the Viaggio is that they have differing front fascias. On the rear, the Viaggio will not bear Dodge’s full-width light bar and the license plate recess moves to the trunk lid. That’s where the differences stop, with exception of some chrome accents.

To recap, the Dodge Dart is a Giulietta with a new body, and the Viaggio is a Dodge Dart with a new front fascia and different taillights. So that would make the Viaggio and Giulietta third cousins once removed, right?

Enough with the genealogy, the Viaggio will bear the same MultiAir turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that the Dart has, but in two different versions. The base model will crank out just 120 horsepower and the optional engine will produce 150 horsepower, 40 horsepower and 10 horsepower less than the Dart’s 1.4-liter, respectively. The engines will link up to either a five-speed manual transmission or a dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Fiat has kept wraps on whether or not this model will remain only in China, or if it will be an export model. Likely with manufacturing happening in China, this creation will stay there. To avoid confusing us all, Fiat Fiat , we ask that you please keep this model overseas. We would appreciate it. You can catch a full look at the Viaggio at the Beijing International Auto Show on April 23rd.

Click past the jump to read Fiat’s press release

China’s ever-growing automotive market has became such a boon for a lot of automakers that concept vehicles that would otherwise be introduced in auto shows like Frankfurt or Geneva are already making their way to either Beijing or Shanghai.

For their part, Audi is bringing one of these concepts to the 2012 Beijing Auto Show: the 2013 Audi RS Q3 Concept. This concept serves as a response to some Audi drivers that just needed a little more “umph.”

The RS Q3 Concept is a fresh look at what an RS-badged Q3 crossover could look like and since Audi has just released the Q3 , it appears that we won’t have to wait long to see a production model soon.

As for the concept itself, the RS Q3 Concept looks hot in its blue-and-black color scheme. As an RS model, Audi also added several RS elements to the concept’s overall look, including a black honeycomb grille, tinted headlights, a new bumper with graping air intakes, and a new set of 20" aluminum wheels. The RS Q3 is planned to borrow the same 2.5-liter engine from the Audi TT RS , so getting that little extra something should be simple for Audi lovers.

Unfortunately, the Q3 will not arrive in the U.S. until later in 2012, and the RS Q3 has yet to be mentioned in the same breath as the U.S. With the growing love for crossovers here, it may become a possibility. Also the fact that the TT RS finally made its way here greatly increases the chances of us U.S. buyers seeing the RS Q3. So let’s have a look at the upcoming RS Q3’s information, courtesy of Audi’s latest press release.

Find out more about the Audi RS Q3 Concept after the jump.


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