Auto China

Beijing Motor Show

For professional reasons, I cannot write about specific cars on this personal website. And it is of course not easy to talk about the Beijing Motorshow (Auto China Beijing), without talking about cars. But perhaps even more important than the cars themselves, is the enthusiasm of the visitors. And I cannot deny a bit of pride when I saw that people are crazy about our products in China. Referring to the models exposed alongside the technical exhibits, I even heard that “German engineering is more sexy than the girls hanging on the cars in the other halls”. In our hall though, when I looked from the back at the camera displays and what people were “shooting”, they really focused on our cars and not on our hostesses – even though I personally think also there we made the better choices than many of our competitors. To understand the significance of the selection process of hostesses for us, you have to envision that a few months ago, hundreds of models came to interview in the Volkswagen Beijing Office. Waves of perfume were swinging through the smell of gasoline for days. As Volkswagen engineers are gentlemen, technical terms (for cars) like “ground clearance”, “bodystyle”, “notchback” and “bottom line” were thoroughly avoided not to make the ladies feel uncomfortable. Here and there you could notice some of my colleagues choosing a more colorful tie than normal, or combing the hair in the restroom. Quite sweet, isn’t it? - The Beauty and the Beast.

Visitors on the motorshow were crazy about “cool cars”. And what I found interesting as well as encouraging, is that “cool” is not only about speed and power any more. The few ones which had an exceptiontal technical concept or an outstanding design, drew the crowds as much as those who were just showing off horsepower. And in some cases, all that comes together anyways. For that just see the normal suspects. They are all great again. 

Even the display of New Energy Vehicles was not overwhelming, at least most exhibitors had something on that topic. Some Chinese manufacturers even seem to have noticed last minute that they are missing the display of an electric vehicle and quickly cut by hand a hole in the bumper and glued a household electric plug in, to make it look electric. Like this you can even see electric vehicles with a stick shift, which must be a superior invention (again!). I guess nobody ever wants to steal the Intellectual Property for that. This is a way to stay safe. We coined it the "No brain, no pain strategy". Without knowing it, they at least choose a matching background music: “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies …”. But to be fair, this time such extremely incompetent examples were quite rare, and further consolidation of the industry is ahead. So, I am already looking forward to the next Beijing Motor Show in two years. "Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel" (After the game is before the game), as the Germans say in soccer.