Sunday, April 19, 2009

SAIC Roewe N1 concept

Roewe, the flagship domestic brand of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), has released this teaser rendering of the N1 concept set to debut at the forthcoming Auto Shanghai 2009 show.

Unlike the production 550, a handsome car that was one of only handful of actual production models at last year's Auto China in Beijing, the N1 was penned and developed by a 21-year old Chinese designer.

Though the N1 will be badged a 'concept', insiders have alluded that the car will go onto production, with the sale being forecasted around late 2009 or early 2010.

Two rather compact engines for its size - a 1.3-liter and a 1.5-liter four-cylinder - are set to power the production version, taking advantage of a recent government incentive providing tax breaks for small cars propelled by engines smaller than 1600cc.

Geely GT Tiger concept

Geely Auto, one of the 'Big 5' Chinese car manufacturers, is set to reveal 22 production and concept cars under three different sub-brands at Auto Shanghai 2009 next week. One of these will be the Geely Tiger, a sports GT concept first shown at Auto China in Beijing last year.

The Chinese automaker claims that this year's GT concept is much closer to the production version, with 90 per cent of the engineering problems - which forced it to display only the exterior dummy model a year ago - having been fixed. The model on show in Shanghai will be complete with an interior, functioning lamp details and butterfly doors.

The design, which polarized opinion due to its graphical details and deceiving size, will again be up for a critical review, with the only noticeable difference being a bodyside molding and a higher, more realistic, greenhouse.



Recent brand reshuffling from Geely has yielded three sub-brands: GLEAGLE (fashion, dream and passion), EMGRAND (luxury and power) and Shanghai EngLon (classic British-style design). The EMGRAND brand has released the first official photos of its EC718 production vehicle, set to be unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2009.

The EC718 is a C-segment-sized vehicle which will be offered in both sedan and hatch derivatives, and source power from 1.8-liter D-CVVT diesel and 2.0-liter gasoline engines. It is set to compete against the Chery A3, Lifan 620 and other domestic vehicles in the fast-growing and ultra-competitive domestic C segment, which sits a notch below the import C segment because of its lower price band.

As with many of the cars being released at Auto Shanghai 2009, official press material from Geely contains scarce information about the new car. But as one of only handful of production cars at the show, it should provide a realistic barometer of how far the Chinese cars have come in terms of design and technology.