Shanghai Auto Show – The Bad and Ugly

After marveling at some nice metal revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show, now is the time to look at some of the blatant Chinese copies and other cars you wish no one wasted good metal on.

Honda Concept D

In a big upset, the Japanese company stole the Ugliest in Show title right from the Chinese automakers’ noses with the Concept D. I don’t think there are words that can do justice to just how awfully styled this car is, with some of the worst choices of color, intersecting lines, mismatched proportions seen in the past couple of years. The gold-brown alloys are the final insult…

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Suzhou Eagle

The clone that makes the other clones seem subtle and well-executed, the Suzhou Eagle is quarter Ferrari, three quarters Porsche Cayman, and 100% awful in execution, detailing and potential to be taken seriously.

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Buick Verano and Nissan Lannia

Proof that language that works well on bigger cars is hard to translate to smaller ones. The Verano, which further evolves that swoopy Buick design language started on the great-looking Enclave and LaCrosse, just looks too much like a slug on those tiny wheels.

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The same problem afflicts the Lannia, on which the expressive design elements from the new Maxima look out of proportion, like the whole car is trying way too hard to be cool.Nissan-Lannia-5

The “GTA-style clones

Any car fan who’s played one of the GTA games knows that the game designers like to take actual cars and then restyle them just enough so that they don’t have to pay royalties to the carmakers (who would not want to see their cars destroyed, anyway). This is the feeling I get when I look at some of the clones from China – they are not necessarily bad-looking, and not necessarily blatant copies, but they just make you think of cars from established car brands.

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Hongqi LS5 1 aka Range Rover
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BAIC BJ80c aka Mercedes G-Class
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Dongfeng Number 1 aka Audi A6

Startech Range Rover Pickup

Grabs the the award for how badly you can butcher a great car.

Startech-RR-Pickup-Truck-5

VW Gran(ny) Santana

An example of the kind of white-good cars that many respectable automakers are selling in China – a VW-badged, long-wheelbase version of the already pretty sad Skoda Rapid.

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  1. Oh my, this Honda concept D is indeed ghastly! At a time when Chinese manufacturers are improving their designs in huge steps, giving their cars a clean and harmonized look (examples: Lifan 820, Dongfeng Fengshan L60), Honda is completely dropping the ball.
    It started with the awfully over-designed XR-V, but this concept D brings it to an all new level.

    The Suzhou Eagle is just plain funny and more of a caricature than a serious production model, considering Chinese buyers want either a practical value-for-money vehicle from a local or foreign manufacturer, or a luxury vehicle from a prestigious brand. Coupes, convertibles and sports cars don’t sell in China, except the ultra-luxury ones.

    I agree with you on the Verano and Lannia, their design languages don’t easily translate to smaller sedans. And that Gran Santana? It is a white-good car indeed. I simply don’t understand why Volkswagen is introducing hatchbacks (like the Gran Lavida as well), while by far the hottest segment in China is midsized and especially small SUVs, like in Europe. VW is losing market share this year, as the local brands, Honda, Chevrolet and PSA are selling their small crossovers like hot cakes!

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