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Beijing show: Chinese brands show latest metal

Foxy lady: The BAIC Arcfox7 has a 450kW electric motor and can race from 0-100km/h in about 3.0 seconds.

Chinese home-market brands take centre stage at the Beijing show

26 Apr 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

THE Beijing motor show kicked off yesterday with big-hitting European and Japanese car-makers unveiling a slew of production-ready models and concepts, but the home-grown Chinese brands also had a few tricks up their sleeves.

One of the better-known Chinese car-makers, and owner of Volvo Cars, Geely uncovered its Emgrand GS crossover, the first SUV from the brand.

The stylish Emgrand GS was previewed by a concept at the same show in 2014, but the production version has been announced with the choice of a 1.3-litre or a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated engine, paired with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

The GS – which stands for Geely Sports – was penned under the direction of former Ford and Volvo designer and now vice-president of design at Geely Auto.

Inside, the Emgrand GS features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and it is fitted with high-end active safety tech.

Geely has harboured plans to expand beyond its Chinese borders and has previously engaged engineers from Melbourne’s Premcar to work on the suspension tune of the Geely GC9.

Geely cars have previously been imported by Western Australian automotive identity John Hughes' Chinese Automotive Distributors, but the status of the Geely's local future is unclear.

One of the more striking concepts on show at the media preview was the Chery FV2030 sportscar concept that features gullwing doors, a higher ride height, a 3D holographic screen and driverless technology.

The FV2030 (for Future Vision) showcases Chery's next-generation design language described as 'Life in Motion'.

Also on the Chery stand was the Tiggo 7PHEV, EQ, Arrizo 5EV and Arrizo 7PHEV showcasing the company's electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid technology.

Falling under the giant SAIC-General Motors-Wuling joint-venture, the Baojun 310 hatchback was also revealed in Beijing, which will be built on its own independently-developed platform and will use a 60kW/116Nm 1.2-litre petrol engine matched with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Inside, the Baojun 310 features an 8.0-inch touchscreen, four airbags, leather seats, 18 storage spaces, a reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity.

Tech company LeEco has teamed up with EV start-up Faraday Future to produce the sleek LeSee concept that appeared at Beijing, with Apple and Tesla firmly in their sights.

The battery packs, electric motors and even the platform of the LeSee were developed with Faraday Future and Aston Martin, with 833 patents filed in 2015. The company will also release its hardware publicly to encourage growth in the EV market.

One of the most jaw-dropping concepts was the IAT Kalman SUV, which looks like a cross between a modern Batmobile, a recent Lexus SUV concept and a truck.

The Kalman is a four-seater and is based on the 2014 Ford F-150 pick-up truck and just 10 examples of the extreme SUV will be built, priced at 12 million RMB, or $A2.4 million.

Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) lifted the lid on its striking Arcfox-7 electric supercar, that will go on sale in China later this year.

With styling cues reminiscent of the BMW i8 – although the company says it was inspired by Formula E racers – the Arcfox-7 uses a 6.6kWh battery pack and a 450kW electric motor and can race from 0-100km/h in about 3.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 260km/h.

BAIC also showed off its Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer-inspired BJ90 SUV.

BYD's Qin EV300 small electric vehicle made its motor show debut, with the company talking up the model's 160kW/310Nm “high-speed permanent magnet synchronous motor” that helps propel it from 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds.

SAIC-owned brand Roewe lifted the covers from its RX5 mid-size SUV, revealing a design that has similarities to the Hyundai Tucson, the new Renault Koleos and an Acura SUV. While very few details have been released, the RX5 will be powered by a choice of a 1.5-litre or 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Nissan's China-only Venucia brand – part of a joint-venture partnership with Dongfeng – lobbed the T90, which is described as a sports crossover and carries a sloping rear roofline, similar to the Mercedes-Benz GLE. It was previewed at last year's Shanghai show by the Vow concept.

Other Chinese home market cars to make their debut included the Changjiang e.Cool electric vehicle, the striking full-size Hongqi B-Concept sedan, the Qiantu Motor K50 that is described as China's first all-electric supercar and the hulking GAC Trumpchi GS8 SUV.

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