Digested: Strategy Engineers’ 5 key take-aways from Auto Shanghai 2017
Mid of April, the Automotive world headed to Shanghai to show off what is planned for the years to come at the 17th Auto Shanghai. Here are Strategy Engineers’ five key take-aways from the exhibition:
1. Chinese automotive industry demonstrates its increased performance at Auto Shanghai
2. SUVs are the new standard – across all vehicle and price segments
3. Electrification is further picking up speed – Chinese OEMs are leading the way
4. Touch screens and cameras are the new luxury
5. New mobility concepts like Lynk&Co reach beyond vehicles
Read the following five summaries on each of the take-away to find out more about the most recent trends in the automotive industry and join the discussion.
- Chinese automotive industry demonstrates its increased performance at Auto Shanghai
Auto Shanghai is well established in the new venue west of the city. More important so, it provides unmatched insight into the performance the Chinese automotive industry has developed in recent years. There are still blunt counterfeits of established products to be found but we left with the profound impression that both Chinese joint-ventures and Chinese OEMs seize the chances the technological shift towards electrification offers to find their own ways.
- SUVs are the new standard – across all vehicle and price segments
The Chinese market is no exception when it comes to the prevailing boom of SUVs. Owners value their more rugged appearance and as well as the better overview the slightly elevated seating position provides – and in turn pay a nice surplus compared to conventional body concepts of the same segment. SUVs of all sizes have become one of the pillars of profitability for Automotive OEMs. However, this trend is not only to profitability but also to volume. For the Chinese market, SUVs are forecasted to overtake sedans in volume. This presents a major challenge as most OEMs did not anticipate this change when making their plans to meet the 2020 CO2 emission targets. While large and small SUVs were the shining stars in Shanghai, more and more of them featured hybrid or battery electric powertrains to help coming to terms with fleet emissions.
- Electrification is further picking up speed – Chinese OEMs are leading the way
Be it the Qoros K-EV, the MG E-Motion, the Audi e-tron Sportback Concept or the Skoda Vision E and VW I.D. Crozz concept cars – almost everything which pointed towards the automotive future was highly electrified. Chinese OEMs are at least one step ahead in this field: vehicles like the battery electric Nio ES8 SUV appeared in a near-series trim already showing that they are no longer focusing on purpose-built city-only but are going for wider electrified portfolios. The message at Auto Shanghai was apparent: electric mobility is coming from and to China and its momentum is growing.
- Touch screens and cameras are the new luxury
Touch screens have become ubiquitous in our daily lives: everything from smartphones to ticket machines features touch-based user interfaces today. This trend has extended to cars in recent years as well. However, in vehicle concepts there is more to it than simply replacing control elements with touch screens. Practice shows that in many cases, functions like the volume are easier to use while driving having a physical user interface. Regardless, touch control is intuitive and well established with the clear majority of young Chinese vehicle buyers looking to seamlessly integrate their mobile and motoring experiences.
Touch screens aren’t the only technology we saw in abundance. Vehicles presented in Shanghai featured cameras nearly everywhere one could imagine. While rear view cameras are common-place in today’s cars, advanced safety and comfort systems required cameras at every corner of the car. Most significantly, increasingly automated driving (many of Auto Shanghai’s concept cars were said to provide automated driving on levels 3) requires 360° surround sensing – often camera based.
- New mobility concepts like Lynk&Co reach beyond vehicles
Coming from Geneva where vehicles bursting with power were dominating the image as one would have expected for the fair rich in tradition – we were curious to see what the approaches to the future of mobility would look like in Shanghai. In summary, there were new mobility concepts like Lynk&Co to be found but they are yet to become something widely offered. Their business model is no longer limited to vehicle ownership but embeds mobility into a digital environment. We are looking forward to seeing more of the digital and usage-focused business models automotive OEMs are developing coming to life.