The traditional Volkswagen Group Night took place in Shanghai tonight ahead of the Shanghai Motor Show 2015 which starts tomorrow. Shanghai is Volkswagen’s biggest market which means it made an extra-special effort to wow the crowds at tonight’s event. The key message was that Volkswagen considers China its home.
Volkswagen China first emerged in 1978. It is by far the most successful joint venture approach to the Chinese automotive market. Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen Automotive Co. Ltd. were the initial joint venture followed by FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd. Representatives from all three arms were present at the motor show.
Among its commitments, Volkswagen announced that it will invest a further 20 billion Euro investment to take it to 2020. It predicts that it will employ 120,000 people by 2019 with a further 500,000 working through dealership networks. It also promised sixty new models and derivatives for 2015.
The biggest message was the efficiency message though. Clean air and economy were themes that ran through all Volkswagen Group brands tonight. The message was further emphasised by Volkswagen and Audi’s Chinese and World Premieres.
Audi had a number of models to show. The first two to take the stage were the Audi Q7 TFSI e-tron and the Audi A6 L e-tron Plug-in Hybrid. both cars were designed exclusively for the Chinese market. The Q7 gets a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine mated to an electric motor which together produce 362 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The A6 gets a 2.0 litre TFSI four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor with a total of 211 hp and 258 lb-ft.
Audi also have the Audi Prologue Allroad Concept. The idea behind the Allroad brand is that the cars can literally go anywhere. The Audi Prologue Allroad Concept joins the Prologue Concept, the Prologue Piloted Driving Concept and the Prologue Avant Concept which we have seen before at other motor shows. It gets a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine coupled to an electric motor for 734 hp and 663.8 lb-ft of torque.
Volkswagen’s big surprise for the Shanghai Motor Show 2015 was the Volkswagen C Coupe GTE. The Volkswagen C Coupe GTE builds upon the Sport Coupe GTE at Geneva earlier this year. Designed mainly as a Chinese concept, this design study could form the basis of a Volkswagen Passat CC replacement. It uses the Volkswagen MLB platform which underpins the Audi A6 so it is aimed slightly higher than the Passat CC as it currently stands.
Volkswagen also used the show to show off the GTE, e-Golf and electric UP. Giving the Chinese market a taste of the cars that will be hitting their shores over the next few years.
Lamborghini displayed the Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SV. Winkelman used the conference to announce that just 600 copies will be produced. The SV was presented once again with a stunning metallic red paint job.
The Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4 SV’s 6.5-litre V12 engine gets a modest power boost of 50 hp together with a weight reduction of 50 kg. The top speed is now 217 mph and the 0-62mph time drops from 2.9 seconds to 2.8 seconds. Torque remains at 507 lb ft at 5,500 rpm and peak rpm rises to 8,500 rpm.
Porsche had an interesting display. We were expecting to perhaps see the new Porsche 991 GT3 RS (hopefully we still will do tomorrow!). Instead we saw a special edition Carrera model named the “Style Edition”. This Silver Carrera looks clean, sleek and straight forward.
As far as we can tell, Porsche have simply added a couple of extra options to the list. The Style Edition is available for the Boxster and the 911 Carrera. Porsche presented the car alongside an iconic Kremer Porsche!
Bentley shared their new race car with us. It will pick up where it left off last year; winning races. It was joined by a new Continental GT Speed and the stunning Bentley EXP10 Speed 6. Durheimer suggested that Chinese opinion was particularly important to the decision he needs to make about the car. He also mention the Bentayga once again.
Skoda & Seat
Skoda presented updated Skoda Superb, a car that sold extremely well in Europe in recent years. Skoda doesn’t have the biggest presence in China but they will be hoping that they can capitalise on the planned Volkswagen Group spending. Seat also presented something in China, despite not officially selling vehicles in China. The Seat 20V20 is an SUV waiting to happen.
Elsewhere, Ducatti presented a motor bike and Bugatti displayed a 2010 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport to see out the production run of the Bugatti Veyron. Durheimer confirmed that the new Bugatti Veyron will aim to take the top speed mantle from the Super Sport and Vitesse models and will use the same W16 engine.