Apr 20, 2017
The Chinese automotive industry is moving at a rapid pace.
The 2017 Shanghai Motor Show is playing host to several debuts, and while most of them are geared towards the Chinese market, there’s a possibility some of these could end up in North America. A few Chinese automakers are looking at entering the North American market and it’s only a matter of time before it happens.
And the automakers from China are getting more and more legit. Where they used to be the butt of jokes for making copycat cars that could barely pass safety tests, the cars Chinese automakers are designing these days look solid and are packed with very promising technology.
China is the world’s biggest market for cars, so it’s vital for big automakers to have some success there. Although some of the debuts were for concepts that may or may not make it to North America one day, a few debuts are of actual production models that will be sold here, and automakers chose to make their debuts in China because the market is so significant. Check out AutoGuide.com‘s picks for the top 10 most interesting debuts from the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show below.
10. Toyota Fengchao Fun Concept
The Toyota Fengchao Fun Concept is a design study, but it looks like a futuristic interpretation of the new Camry that debuted earlier this year in Detroit. And being a design study, the automaker is keeping quiet on actual specs and possible powertrain options. But another focus of the Fun Concept is shining the spotlight on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that underpins the Camry, Prius and C-HR models. In a way, this could be Toyota’s idea of a Chinese-market Camry.
9. Chery Tiggo Sport Coupe Concept
At first glance, the Chery Tiggo Sport Coupe Concept might remind you of the Toyota C-HR. The Chinese automaker is looking to compete in the segment with a stylish, youth-oriented model and features autonomous technology. And when drivers don’t need to focus on the road, they’re able to play video games with the steering wheel, which likely isn’t a technology heading to production anytime soon. No word on what sort of powertrain Chery is considering for its crossover, but it’s likely we’ll see this heading to production given the popularity of the segment in China.
8. MG E-Motion Concept
British automaker MG hasn’t really been the same since it was acquired by China’s SAIC, but it’s returning to its roots with the E-Motion Concept. The stylish coupe may be all-electric, but it’s poised to offer the sports car-like performance with a zero-to-62-mph (zero-to-100-km/h) time less than four seconds. The company says it will head to production if feedback is positive in Shanghai and, so far, it’s been pretty good.
7. Lynk & Co 03 Concept
Things are getting very interesting with Lynk & Co, an obscure brand spawned by Geely, which also owns Volvo. The company has already unveiled its 01 Concept crossover, and now there’s the 03 sedan that looks production ready. Spy photographers have caught both models testing in production guise and with the assistance of Volvo, Lynk & Co could be moving forward at a rapid pace. The automaker plans on selling its vehicles in the U.S. next year.
6. NIO ES8
NIO has been making headlines with its record-setting EP9 supercar, but now the automaker is showing that it can do a production vehicle. The ES8 is a seven-seater SUV that measures over 196 inches long while riding on a wheelbase over 118 inches long. It will also feature battery-swapping technology, similar to what Tesla tried to pull off with the Model S. The company is currently testing prototypes in the real world and production along with deliveries are scheduled to begin next year.
5. Jeep Yuntu Concept
Possibly previewing a seven-seater SUV for the Chinese market, the Jeep Yuntu Concept also gives a glimpse at how Jeep is possibly approaching its future design language. But what makes the Yuntu Concept particularly interesting is that reports suggest it could head to North America wearing a Chrysler badge. The model is expected to be based on the Jeep Cherokee, but Chrysler will have to do some major styling changes to separate it from existing Jeep models.
4. Audi E-Tron Sportback Concept
The Audi e-tron Sportback Concept may look futuristic, but it actually previews a production model slated for 2019. Featuring three electric motors, the e-tron Sportback Concept boasts 429 horsepower but has a boost mode to increase output to 496 hp. The German automaker will be launching an electric SUV with a driving range of around 311 miles in 2018, and Audi chairman Rupert Stadler confirmed that model will be followed by the production version of the e-tron Sportback Concept in 2019.
3. Volkswagen I.D. Crozz Concept
Volkswagen is trying to sweep its massive diesel scandal under the rug by ushering in a new era of electric vehicles. This is the third I.D. Concept from the German automaker, previewing a crossover that is aiming for 2020 production. Sporting around 311 miles of range, the concept features autonomous driving technologies, just like previous I.D. concepts.
2. Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan
Mercedes-Benz has found success with its lineup of compact models and is previewing the next-generation offering with the Concept A Sedan in Shanghai. There’s a possibility Mercedes is using the concept to preview a new sedan model, but it’s more likely giving us a glimpse of the next-generation CLA. In a way, an A-Class Sedan doesn’t make a lot of sense with the CLA already in the lineup.
1. Chevrolet FNR-X Concept
Raise your hand if you ever thought a Chevrolet Camaro crossover would be a good idea. The surprisingly stylish FNR-X Concept features active aerodynamics with the shutters in the grille opening or closing to deliver more air, or divert it around the front end for increased efficiency. The wheel spokes can also be adjusted to reduce drag at high speeds, while the side skirts change position based on the vehicle mode. And while we may never see the FNR-X head to production, it does preview what Chevrolet is playing around with in terms of design. But more importantly, it shows off technology that could be used in future models.