Chinese manufacturers at the IAA: Upswing East
Chinese automakers are extremely self-confident at the IAA. They present the most powerful car of the IAA, the car with the largest screen - and could soon change the balance of power in the industry.
Bombastic music roars through hall 8, video sequences flicker over giant LED screens, Chinese characters flash, curtains fall. The staging of the trade show appearance of the Chinese luxury brand Hongqi is impressive.
At the end of the show, two premieres are revealed: the PS-strongest car of the IAA and a massive electric SUV that looks like a piece of Chinese wall on wheels.
"The Chinese manufacturers appear with a presence and force in Frankfurt, which I did not expect so", says Jan Dannenberg, partner in the strategy consulting Berylls. The force can be summed up in Hongqi in a number: 1400 hp makes the supercar prototype S9 and surpassed even the new Lamborghini racer Sián (819 hp) clearly. The S9 is the first Hypercar of Hongqi brand belonging to First Automotive Works (FAW). The two-seater has a hybrid drive of 4-liter V8 engine and two electric machines. The body is made of carbon, the entry is made by gullwing doors.
Very flat, supple and for aerodynamic reasons on some parts also extremely rugged, the S9 stands out visually at the auto show. 70 copies of the extreme sports car are to be built, one experiences on demand with the stand personnel. From 2021, the limited edition will be delivered, the unit price is equivalent to 2 million euros.
A SUV chunk in the style of Rolls-Royce
The second car on the stand is the electric SUV study E115. Bulky body, immense dimensions: in some ways the Trumm resembles the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. This is not a coincidence, because Hongqi bought out the former Rolls-Royce chief designer Giles Taylor a year ago. The SUV projectile is supposed to accelerate from 0 to 100 km / h in less than four seconds and can travel up to 600 kilometers with one battery charge.
A pure show car? When asked, Hongqi makes it clear that the E115 is a near-standard SUV model. FAW CEO Xu Liuping announced that he would launch 17 new cars by 2025 before the fair. Maybe the E115 is one of them. However, for now only in China, because plans for a market entry in Europe Hongqi announced in Frankfurt.
Byton wants to sell cars in Germany from 2021
Byton though. The second Chinese manufacturer in Hall 8 announces that it will compete in Europe from the first half of 2021 onwards. The appearance of the car start-ups founded in 2017 is less pompous, but for the first time there is the production-ready electric SUV M-Byte. Also in this car FAW has its fingers in the game, because the group invested several hundred million dollars in Byton. And By taking over a FAW subsidiary Byton secured the license for the construction of electric production vehicles.
In the summer of 2020, the delivery of the M-byte in China should begin, then the export should start. Even in the US, despite the trade dispute and imminent additional tariffs. "The product would still have a market there, even with a higher price," says Byton boss Daniel Kirchert at the world premiere in Frankfurt. Costs of the M-byte by the way 45,000 euros - including giant screen and two touchpads to use. The plan is to produce at least 100,000 cars a year from 2021 onwards. Then the M-byte will be profitable, according to Byton CEO Kirchert.
Changing of the guard in the vehicle industry?
The fact that it is possible to sell many cars in a short time shows the third Chinese manufacturer at the IAA. The luxury SUV manufacturer Wey has already sold 300,000 cars three years after founding. Maybe that's why company boss Jack Wey came up with a proud chest, and spoke exclusively Chinese at the press conference. Wey boss Wey sees Chinese automakers as potential leaders in the industry because of China's pioneering role in 5G mobile technology, after all, cars are "mobile devices" to him, meaning smartphones on wheels.
"The self-confident appearance of the Chinese at the IAA, in contrast to the rather restrained presence of German automotive companies, acts as a harbinger for a change of guard at the forefront of the mobility industry," says car expert Dannenberg. In Frankfurt, Wey unveiled the electric SUV concept car Wey-S, which should provide up to 400 kilometers of range. From 2021 to drive the pure electric Wey vehicles in China. But Jack Wey also has Europe in mind.
"Made in China" - the new "Made in Germany"
The development center, which opened in Germany in 2016, should serve as the starting point for expansion into European markets, said Wey in Frankfurt. It is quite possible that the luxury SUV manufacturer will also have cars with fuel cell technology in its product range in the future. Wey certainly did not let it slip by that the company also works on hydrogen propulsion. At least in Germany can score with it. Especially since the Wey parent company Great Wall Motors has been a shareholder in the "H2 Mobility" merger since last year, which wants to expand the hydrogen infrastructure in Germany.
However, Jack Wey not only wants to sell cars, but to improve China's overall image. "We hope that people around the world fall in love with the 'Made in China' label," said Wey. That it does not take so much pathos to be present at the IAA shows the Chinese giant Geely. In addition to Volvo and the electro-luxury brand Polestar, the company also includes the British London Electric Vehicle Company LEVC, manufacturer of the famous - now electrically powered - London taxis. Polestar and LEVC will exhibit their novelties at the fair. Since 2018 Geely also holds 9.7 percent of Daimler.
By the way, anyone arriving by train to the auto show will inevitably come into contact with cars from China. Because even in the hall of Frankfurt Central Station are two SUVs of the Chinese manufacturer Aiways. The two prototypes of the Aiway U5 have a test drive of about 15,000 kilometers - from Xi'an in the Chinese province of Shanxi to Frankfurt. The trip brought Aiways an entry in the "Guinness Book of Records" - for the longest prototype test drive an electric car so far. The days when Chinese cars disintegrated into details on the first IAA afternoon are long gone. On the contrary, now others have to be careful not to be disassembled by the Chinese.