China's Car of The Year

I wrote a quite a lot of articles on China's auto industry in 2004 in Beijing. Here is part of a longer article I wrote for an auto research company on China's car of the year.....  

Cars are perhaps not as salacious as pop idols or create nationwide hysteria when a new model rolls into a showroom, but the launch of a new car, an Auto Expo or Auto Award can cause auto mania among demanding consumers in China.

The Car of the Year Award in China has become an important barometer on what is hot and what is not in the auto industry. The annual event began in 2002 and has become a permanent fixture of the auto scene. So what are the most popular cars in China? Auto surveys and reports show that the Beijing Hyundai Elantra, the Shanghai GM Excelle and the Guangzhou Honda Accord are among the most popular passenger cars.

According to an article on titled ‘Trendy cars Driven by Successful Men’ (May 9 2003), eight cars are listed alongside different types of ‘modern’ Chinese men. Audi is the preferred car driven by successful businessmen. Your rugged, outdoors intrepid Chinese male drives a Cherokee, while Polo is the preferred car driven by white-collar workers.

When choosing a car, Chinese women look not only for ‘trendy colours’, but enough space or special compartments to store an extra pair of shoes, and the versatility of a smaller car like the QQ 0.8 ‘when you have to make a dash to a party or visit friends.’ And what do the stars drive? Xu Fan, a famous movie star and wife of the film director Feng Xiaogang, drives a gleaming white Golf, while the Hong Kong Cantopop singer and actress Kelly Chen drives a Citroën because they are ‘safe and spacious like German cars’.

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