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Chang’an showcases engineering capabilities in Frankfurt

Frankfurt − Chang’an Auto Group showcased four car models at the 64th IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt which opened to the public on September 17.

It is the first time that China’s 4th largest state-owned automaker exhibited at a leading international motor show.

At its moderate stand in Hall 6.1 amidst supplier exhibitors, Chang’an displayed two concepts: the sleek-looking Sense which was first seen at this year’s Auto Shanghai in April and an SUV. Also on display were the Eado, a 4-cylinder 1.6L 5-speed sedan also known as the C201 and the Clover EV.

The Eado made a world debut in Frankfurt and maybe sold in Europe as early as 2013.

The Sense concept

The SUV concept

The Clover EV

By participating at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Chang’an wanted to showcase its engineering capabilities after it set up four overseas R&D centers in Italy, Japan, the U.K and the U.S.

“Chang’an started its overseas strategy five years ago, beginning export to developing countries with light commercial vehicles, including minivans,” said Chang’an Auto vice president Zhu Huarong at the company’s press conference on September 13. “We are now targeting the European and the U.S. markets so as to become a true international automaker from China,” Zhu was quoted as saying by a China Daily report.

According to Zhu, Chang’an is preparing for the debut of its showrooms in Europe in 2013, with entry into the U.S. market at a later date.

“We are communicating with potential local dealers, recruiting talent and getting type approval for our vehicles in Europe right now,” Zhu said.

“We are here to learn and find out how visitors and consumers evaluate our design and products,” Zhou Shun, a Chang’an executive in charge of organizing the stand, told CBU/CAR.

With feedbacks from visitors, Chang’an may consider participating in the Geneva and Paris auto shows next year, according to Zhu.

The Eado sedan is designed by Chang’an’s overseas R&D centers. Zhu was quoted as saying that it is the company’s strategic model for Europe, because it was “developed according to the high quality and design standards in Europe.”

The Eado world debut

Chang’an is the only Chinese automaker that boasts four overseas R&D centers in Turin (2006), Yokohama (2008), Nottingham (2010) and Detroit (2011).

Zhu was quoted by China Daily as saying that the company would launch a premium brand next year as part of its overseas expansion plan. “We will invest at least ¥2 billion ($313 million) to develop that brand, to strengthen our brand image in the global market,” Zhu said.

Chang’an Auto currently produces about 2 million vehicles a year and is partner of Ford, Mazda, Suzuki and PSA in four JV assembly plants.

The bi-annual Frankfurt Motor Show, which ended on September 25, attracted a growing number of visitors since it opened to the public. With 1,200 exhibitors, total attendance for this year could exceed 850,000, the number in 2009, according to organizer VDA, or the German Association of the Automotive Industry.

Visitors at the 64th IAA International Motor Show

For the first time in the history of IAA, VDA organized a China Day Seminar on September 20 at the Congress Center on the show ground. On behalf of CBU/CAR, this author gave a presentation on the current situation and future prospects of China’s automobile market together with speakers from the German government, Mercedes-Benz China, Bosch China, Management Engineers and JSC Automotive. The event was attended by 200 automotive executives from around the world.

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