Friday, April 21, 2017


It could be another example of Deutschland Über Alle, but the German marques staged big reveals of some interesting new concepts and production cars at this month's Shanghai Auto Show, dominating the expo.

Mercedes-Benz invested in its Concept A; and the much facelifted S-Class. Volkswagen showed another electric crossover concept, albeit with a weird name, surely not intended for the final version.

The Chinese market is not only vital for all the Germans, but Volkswagen is the biggest seller of Joint Venture cars there, and the reveal of the CROZZ Crossover Concept shows just how much it depends on success in China.

The Concept A is a very slick reworking of the original compact sedan launched in 2012. Mercedes-Benz says it has sold more than two million compacts, including the CLA-Class, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA-Class, A-Class, and B-Class.

Design Chief Gorden Waggoner says Concept A is the realisation of the company's new design language called 'Aesthetics A'.

After you sift through the design hyperbole, this new concept will also be the basis for the JV car to come from the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Mercedes-Benz factory in Aguascalientes, in Central Mexico.

The Nissan version will carry the Infiniti brand name.

The 'A' is just a concept, at the moment, but it does feature the 'Panamericana' grille seen on both the AMG GT-R and the AMG GT3 - and we know that design is destined for production.

Then there was the 'new' S-Class, which is really, essentially a facelift - but in similar manner to other Mercedes-Benz mid-life updates, there's a lot of fancy new tech on-board including a new design headlight system which the Stuttgarters say reaches way beyond the conventional headlight spread.

With every carmaker in the world rushing to create JVs in China, and devolving huge production volume expectations to the JV factories, I still can't quite believe that there won't be tears before bedtime if the Chinese market falters, or wages soar to make production there less profitable.

Then the car industry titans will be looking for 'another Thailand or India' to build cars at sub-basic wage levels.

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