Auto Shanghai is now one of the biggest motor shows in the world. To highlight just how highly European-based car makers value the rapidly expanding Chinese market, a quick look through the world premieres in Shanghai lists some of the most eagerly anticipated models of the year.
The Citroen DS5 almost has an obligatory ‘stunning’ placed in front of it in most media reports, and the large car is sure to appeal to Chinese customers.
Premieres from Volvo, BMW, Subaru and Audi also appeared at the show, and there were plenty of China-only models amongst the models appearing here in the UK.
The Chinese market is well-known for its penchant for large, premium cars – and by premium we mean lashings of leather upholstery, plenty of extra equipment, a large amount of room in the rear and a refined and comfortable ride.
So it’s no surprise to see the usual German manufacturers vying for position in China. However, these are not the only car makers looking to China with their latest models, and the good news for Perrys customers is that many of the models are destined for the UK as well.
The prime example is that Citroen DS5. It’s raised ride height and muscular stance is reminiscent of a crossover, but the car has a coupe-like roof and hatchback-inspired rear access.
Inside, the DS5 is a triumph of luxury and design, with high quality materials set out in a unique system designed to feel like the cockpit of a plane. If Citroen can recreate this in a production car, the DS5 will become a direct challenger for so-called luxury brands in China and the UK.
That’s before we mention the frugal powertrain, which comprises a diesel-hybrid 4×4 system seen in the Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4. Citroen has even gone as far as hinting at sub-100g/km CO2 emissions when the model finally arrives, and this means zero road tax in the UK.
The DS5 is due to arrive in the UK early next year, and will be the flagship of a highly successful sub-brand that will encompass the DS3 supermini and DS4 hatchback.
Read more on the Citroen DS5
Fellow French manufacturer, and sister brand to Citroen under the PSA Group, took a similar route into the Chinese market with the SXC Concept car.
Another crossover, it car uses styling similar to the SR1 roadster and subsequent concept cars from Peugeot to create an elegant saloon/SUV crossover.
Peugeot has shunned the diesel hybrid powertrain for a frugal petrol engine, but the words premium and luxury are dropped throughout the manufacturer’s description of the car.
Rear-hinged doors and monstrous 22" alloy wheels may well be design exercises unlikely to make it onto a production car, but the Peugeot SXC concept could hint at the next generation 4007.
Read more about the Peugeot SXC Concept car
When the Citroen DS5 and a production version of the Peugeot concept arrive in the UK – and in China – the French manufacturers will have taken a step upwards, away from the new clutch of budget manufacturers flooding the market into more premium territory.
With clever pricing, Citroen and Peugeot could take customers away from the big German premium brands, and without Shanghai and the need for big executive cars, this may never have happened.