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2011 Auto Shanghai

Mid-sized Lion-car: The Chevrolet Malibu on display at Auto Shanghai 2011 will join Holden's line-up, slotting between the Cruze and Commodore and replacing the Epica.

19 Apr 2011

By TERRY MARTIN in SHANGHAI

FEW doubted that China had become the world’s most influential automotive nation prior to the staging of this week’s Shanghai motor show. Even fewer would argue the point now.

While it has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest car market, China’s importance in terms of the creation and launch of global vehicles from the biggestnames in the business was demonstrated in no uncertain terms at Auto Shanghai 2011.

 center imageFrom top: New Nissan Tiida (likely to be called 'Pulsar' in Australia, Volvo Universe concept, Buick Envision, BMW M5.

Determined not to let its long-held dominance in China be overshadowed by relative newcomers, the Volkswagen Group unveiled its new People’s Car to the most populous nation on Earth – a fresh interpretation of the famous Beetle – while Audi answered long-awaited questions with its Q3 crossover and, in a surprise, presented a plug-in hybrid e-Tron version of its forthcoming A3 sedan.

Like General Motors and Ford, Volkswagen also announced plans to bolster its Chinese standing, the latter with the launch of its Spanish Seat brand in 2012.

But this was much more than a Vee-dub dominated show. Consider the emergence of an all-new Nissan Tiida – or Pulsar, as it’s likely to be known here – and Volvo’s Concept Universe: a pointer to a new flagship for the now Chinese-owned Swedish brand.

We have seen a radically redesigned Mercedes A-class concept and, from the BMW Group, the long-awaited 6 Series Coupe, a fresh M5 concept, a stretched 5 Series plug-in hybrid and a Rolls-Royce massaged Mini Cooper.

Citroen and Peugeot weighed in with, respectively, the prestige DS5 and an SXC concept, Subaru showed its hand with an all new Impreza-based XV crossover hatch and,significantly, GM gave us much to look forward to with the Holden Epica-replacing Malibu.

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Cars at the show:

1st of January 1970

1st of January 1970

1st of January 1970

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