China

China

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.

When students design a vehicle, name it after a Japanese ice skater, and then claim it will see the production line soon, it’s likely that the masses will point and laugh as they crumble up the press release and toss it in the trash. This is similar to what happened in 2009 when students from Tongya University put together the Tong Jian S11 , a patched up hybrid sports car with Ferrari , Lamborghini , and Audi highlights. Now, the folks over at JAC Motors are taking the design study a little more seriously, and bringing it to the 2012 Beijing Auto Show to boot.

Take a look at the JAC Motors S11 and check out the Lamborghini -inspired front end, the Ferrari rear end look-a-like, and the Audi R8 side sills. Can a copy and paste jigsaw puzzle make it as a true contender in the sports car market? Taking out our old-school Magic 8-Ball, we’d have to go with Very Doubtful, and the odds don’t improve when it comes to the engine either.

The JAC Motors S11 isn’t powered by some exclusive engine that will make up for the "borrowed" exterior elements. It will feature a gasoline-electric hybrid powerplant that doesn’t deliver a substantial amount of power, although specific figures have not been released yet.

So why did JAC Motors create the S11? We’re guessing it’s just because they can. We just don’t see any other reason, but maybe they’ll surprise us when the new S11 hits the Beijing Auto Show floor.

Source: Carscoop

Ferrari is celebrating its 20th anniversary on the Chinese market with the introduction of a special edition 458 Italia . This new edition will be limited to only 20 units and since it will be exclusively offered in China, will be characterized by unique Chinese elements. The 458 Italia will be finished in a brand new color called Marco Polo Red specially developed for this exclusive car.

Since this is the "Year of the Dragon," the car’s livery was inspired by the longma theme which is an old Chinese idiom which means "the vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse." These elements include a golden dragon on the front bonnet, which is offset by gold and black livery stripes symbolizing a racing track.

The golden dragon is combined with a gold finish for the rims and the aeroelastic winglets. On the interior, this special edition adds gold embroidery on the car’s head rests, while the engine start button on each of the 20 cars is inscribed with the simplified Chinese characters for "start." Each unit will also receive a "20th Anniversary Special Edition" plaque in the dash.

UPDATE 06/19/12: For a super car that costs over $200,000 in standard guise, people will have to pay quite a premium in order to get hands on the 458 Italia China Special Edition. How much, you ask? Try 5.588 million yuan. When converted, that’s around $880,000 or €700,000 based on current exchange rates. Yikes.

Posted on by Alexander + 13

China’s political party has been under fire recently with news of Bo Xilai getting the old heave ho after trying to remove the police chief from his position during a corruption investigation involving Xilai’s family. The internet with bezerk with the news and social media just hasn’t been the same in Asia. In fact, transfer of power in the Communist party is scheduled to be done in Fall 2012 and government officials are worried that this uproar will rock the boat way too much to do so.

Now, another incident has sparked the Chinese population’s interest in political unbalance. Early Sunday morning, a man was driving his Ferrari 458 at high speeds when he crashed in Beijing, splitting his car in two. The man died and the two women in the vehicle were severely injured. So far, this amounts to another tragic accident involving a superior sports car, but people in China are taking it even more seriously. Turns out, the internet went abuzz with rumors that the driver of the vehicle was a son of a senior communist party official, adding even more concern over the faltering balance in government. A story in the New York Times takes it a bit further by stating that Bo Xilai’s son, Guagua, actually drives a red Ferrari.

Blogs, websites, and search engines were being so heavily crowded with intrigue that any and all information surrounding the crash was removed from the internet altogether, as was the capability of searching for anything Ferrari-related.

A son of a political official driving a Ferrari raises a few question on its own. Some may wonder how a civil servant could afford to buy his son such a pricey sports car, while others may just get angry at the fact that government officials can afford these types of luxuries when others are stricken with poverty. When you throw in the minor detail that the son of an official who was being investigated for corruption drives a car like the one in question, then all hell is bound to break loose.

We’ll stay on top of the story and relay any details as soon as we get them.


Back to top