The Volkswagen Group hosted its most spectacular Group Night yet the night prior to the start of Auto China 2014 here in Beijing! The 16th Edition of the Volkswagen Group event had ‘The Night of the Stars’ as theme and was particular tailored to the large number of Chinese dealers, media and VIPs attending tonight’s event.
The Beijing Olympic Indoor Stadium functioned as location for the Beijing Motor Show 2014 edition of the Volkswagen Group Night. Just a stones-throw away from the famous Beijing Olympic Stadium built for the 2008 Olympic Games it was a venue with more grandeur than the locations of the European Volkswagen Group Nights we have attended.
The Volkswagen Group Night Beijing kicked off with a welcome from the head of communications of the Volkswagen Group followed by a thematic video about the presence and successes of the Volkswagen Group in China. With over 20 million cars sold in China to date and record growth in recent years China is now the number 1 most important market for VW and many brands of the VW group. The VW Group like many of its global competitors invest strongly in China, not only in distribution and sales of their existing models but also in tailored vehicles and local research & development and production facilities.
Back to the theme of the evening: The Night of the Stars! After introducing the CEO’s of the two key Volkswagen joint-ventures and the head of Volkswagen China every brand of the Volkswagen Group was introduced with a short film scripted for the brands new cars. First up was Lamborghini with a cool short film of guy who tries to escape bad guys in a Lamborghini Huracan at the end of the video the Huracan raced through a wall out on stage.
Next up was Skoda with a spectacular act of ballet, dancing and hot air balloons that led to the introduction of the new Skoda Octavia. Next up was Volkswagen that went for a theme of cowboys with the support of famous Chinese actor Zhang Hanyu that got the Chinese crowd completely excited. Zhang Hanyu along with the global Volkswagen CEO presented the new Volkswagen Touareg. China is a key market for the Volkswagen SUV, but this wasn’t the only highlight the company from Wolfsburg brought to Beijing.
Following the introduction of the Volkswagen Golf R last year, Volkswagen now presented the Volkswagen Golf R 400, a 400hp (0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds) monster Golf with Motorsports inspired styling. It was certainly the surprise of the evening!
Bugatti brought its 5th special edition Legend of the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse to Beijing called the Black Bess. The Black Bess refers to a legendary Bugatti from the 1920s that set many records. Dutch car importer and car collector Evert Louwman received great respect when he drove his original 1920s Bugatti Black Bess on stage here in Beijing to accompany the latest generation Black Bess, a true beauty.
Porsche went to outer space for their introduction of the Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS! Their introduction included a huge display of the earth from space and satellites and an astronaut flying through the Stadium, for a second we believed we were in the movie Gravity but that ended when the Boxster GTS and Cayman GTS raced out on stage. Both offer new levels of sound, agility and driving performance in the sub-911 segment – expect a review on GTspirit soon!
Next up was Audi that showed us their mission to bring the Audi TT Offroad Concept to Beijing despite several treats to sabotage their mission. A little over the top but that was made up for by an impressive display of three Audi Concept cars on stage. The Audi TT Offroad Concept was escorted by the Audi TT 420 and the Audi Concept car from Geneva 2014. Audi insisted its their mission to develop innovative and clean cars for China and the rest of the world. Several new Audi’s including the Audi A6 plug-in hybrid will be launched first or even only in China. Audi daughter Ducatti also pitched in with their latest bike and plans to open several new dealerships in China.
Seat showed China the successful new Seat Leon Cupra that according to their intro film was kept out of the hands of three bad guys who intended to steal the Spanish hot hatch. Last but not least was Bentley with the first plug-in hybrid in the ultra luxury segment: The Bentley Hybrid Concept. Bentley CEO Dr. Schreiber stressed, during one of his last public appearances as CEO of Bentley and Bugatti before handing his position over to Dr. Durheimer, that this technology is an important step for Bentley and believes it will be the future in this segment.
With all brands represented it was the turn for Dr. Martin Winterkorn CEO of Volkswagen Group to present his view on China’s mobility and the goals for the Volkswagen Group in China. Strong emphasis was placed on e-mobility with five electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles from several group brands presented on stage. Volkswagen Group’s statement was clear, they will continue to invest in China to pursue growth but also invest in environmental friendly and sustainable solutions for mobility. Throughout the night the people of China and the Volkswagen Group employees played a key role in the stories, goals and ambitions expressed by key VAG employees. With car ownership limited to only a minority of the Chinese population but traffic and air pollution already exceeding acceptable levels there are certainly challenging times ahead.
On that bombshell the highlights of the evening came back out on stage and everybody was invited to take a closer look and the Volkswagen Group Night in Beijing ended like all the other Volkswagen Group Nights: With hundreds of people crammed around a handful of cars!
The highlights of the Volkswagen Group gave us a good taste of what’s to come at the Beijing Show Auto China 2014 that starts tomorrow. Make sure to refresh our Beijing Motor Show 2014 News channel often the next days for the latest news and premieres!