Even so, after the orgy of supercar excess that was Geneva and the what you see straightforwardness of New York, this was another kind of motor show altogether and perhaps a rather different one to that which was expected.
On the one hand, many of the world’s most grands fromages were – Mercedes board members Dieter Zetsche, Ola Kallenius and Thomas Weber all choosing to be in Shanghai rather than a few thousand miles to the west where their golden boy Lewis was doing his stuff once more – yet you might be forgiven to concluding that they’d forgotten to bring their cars with them.
True, Mercedes showed its new GLC Coupe and proved an SUV coupe crossover need not stylistically be a contradiction in terms, but allegedly at least it was still in concept form, albeit it is demonstrably close to production.
Its perhaps more valuable role in Beijing was to inform us what the regular new GLC will be like when we see it this summer, an Audi Q5 and BMW X3 rival seen as absolutely key to the UK market from which it has hitherto been missing.
Volkswagen was in concept mood too thanks to its C Coupe GTE concept which never looked more exciting than when positioned by VW execs as a new sub-Phaeton, supra-Passat model to rival Audi's A6 and A7, before it was revealed that even if it is built, it will be a China-only model.
It also remains to be seen whether the 493bhp Peugeot 308 R Hybrid or anything even like it makes it into production. We hope so because we love a fast Peugeot, but as Peugeot slashes its most interesting models, including the RCZ and RCZ R to focus on more mainstream and profitable cars, the tide is perhaps running against it at present.
Not so the McLaren 540C, which comes hot on the heels of what McLaren claims to be the successful launch of its slightly more powerful 570S sister in New York.
With merely 30 fewer horsepower but, at £126,000 a price tag some £17,250 less than that of the 570S, it makes the cost of carbon-fibre, ultra-low volume McLaren ownership cheaper than that of any new Bentley or the Aston Martin DB9 and closer to that of the new Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo.
But ultimately, and at least in terms of cars that might go on sale in the UK, this was predominately a show of concepts and variants, the only genuinely all-new product to have relevance to the UK market being MG’s GS SUV, which will go on sale next year.
So among these cars and the hangars’ full of local models - from bland saloons to brazenly audacious rip-offs of premium European products - lay a fundamental question about this show: why did all the big premium European brands choose not to bring much, if any, of the genuinely good new stuff to the world’s largest exhibition hall?
Shanghai is a far better show than it ever was before in terms of it organisation, ease of access and space provided to the manufacturers. But it still felt like a show the European brands needed to attend rather than particularly wanted to.
The vibe compared to Geneva where every major sports and supercar player of note brought something genuinely new and interesting could not be more stark.
For all the space allocated to it, Shanghai failed to attract sufficient overseas interest for it to rank as a 'Tier One' event in anything other than sheer size.
Shanghai may be the world’s largest city and this its biggest building, but I will not be the first to observe that quantity is a poor substitute for quality.
If it and its sibling in Beijing wish to continue to rival the great shows of Geneva, Paris, Frankfurt and Detroit, it will need to be with not just the breadth of talent on show in Shanghai yesterday, but with considerably greater depth, too.
Live blog - how the Shanghai motor show unfolded
1318 That wraps up our live coverage of day one of the Shanghai motor show. Our reporters are still hammering away on keyboards in hotel rooms across the city, so keep checking the site for more news throughout the day, and scroll down to the bottom of the page for links of anything you may have missed in the meantime.
1252 Indeed Dürheimer said copying is more prevalent when it comes to model car making: "When you launch a new model, of course the dealers and everybody wants to have a model of it as a gift. One hundred per cent of the model making industry is in China. So in order to make a good model car, we need to give the data to the company that makes it about 12 months prior to the launch. And then we can't control what's going to happen. The model car might even reach the market from a competitor brand that we didn't licence before you launch the real vehicle."
1251 Bentley boss Wolfgang Dürheimer, however, is fairly relaxed about the issue of Chinese rip-offs: "We're not really concerned," he told Matt Burt. "They go more for the mass market premium cars, because if you want to buy luxury, you want to buy the original."
1247 The new Lincoln Continental, which is having an outing here in Shanghai, has fanned the flames of argument over copy cat designs, says Matt Burt. When the concept first appeared in New York earlier this month, Bentley designer Luc Donckerwolke took to social media to express his dissatisfaction at the car's perceived resemblance to his company's products.
1240 It's not just news and new car reveals we're covering from the Shanghai show. Our reports have also been blogging; here's Matt Burt on the role of electric scooters in China and the rise of the electric car.
1229 Matt Burt has been speaking with Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer, who's told him that the styling of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept from the recent Geneva show would be tweaked slightly should the model make production as expected.
1219 Mini's show star is not a new car, but a piece of wearable technology. Its augmented reality glasses project vehicle and navigation instructions in front of drivers and render parts of the car - including the A-pillar and doors -'invisible' in order to improve visibility. Read the full story here.
1207 Another bizarre snippet about the Eagle (that lovely green sports car at the top of the page) from Matt Burt, which has been christened the 'Porscherrari' by the Shanghai media set. It's full name appears to be Eagle Came, and the words are written on the back in an identical font to the one Porsche uses for its model names...
1200 Here's one that's got tongues wagging this morning. The row between Land Rover and LandWind rumbles on over the latter's copycat design of the Evoque with its X7. Here's how the two designs compare.
1152 Some Peugeot 508 news here - not only will the model be replaced in 2017 (there had been some doubt over whether or not that would be the case), but it will feature autonomous technology, a first for PSA Peugeot-Citroen.
1142 Here's the full story on a new version of the BMW X5 unveiled at Shanghai today, the xDrive40e petrol-electric hybrid model. Its Co2 rating is put at 77g/km.
1126 More from Jim Holder, who has discovered that the Peugeot RCZ will not be replaced.
1118 DS, the premium brand of the PSA Peugeot Citroen group, is ultimately chasing annual sales of around 500,000 cars - up from around 120,000 in 2015. Insiders told Jim Holder the firm’s bosses plan for it to contribute 10% of the PSA Group’s sales, although company boss Yves Bonnefont said at the Shanghai motor show: “Volume is not a primary measure - it kills a premium brand. Our target is more about a contribution to the group.”
1114 Volkswagen is still working hard to bring a whole range of budget cars to the Chinese market, Matt Burt has learned. As reported by Autocar at the start of this month, the latest project is to engineer a new, inexpensive components set that will underpin both a saloon and an SUV. At the Shanghai motor show Volkswagen China boss Jochem Heizmann explained that the company had noted the increase in the size of the low-cost SUV market in recent months and stated there were "concrete projects" in the works to exploit that growth.
1104 The emergence of DS as a sustainable premium brand will take at least 15 years, CEO Yves Bonnefont has told Jim Holder. “I do not know exactly how long it will take, but that is roughly what Audi required, and is measurable as being two full life cycles of car - a first one to establish the brand and a second one to make necessary improvements.” Bonnefont also stressed that DS is already profitable, as a result of its close ties with Citroen infrastructure.
1055 Volkswagen is in the process of turning its attentions onto the growing Indonesian car market, reveals Matt Burt. The nation's population is the fourth largest behind China, the USA and India. A recent period of political stability in the country has led to the emergence of an increasingly affluent 'middle-class', keen to spend their new-found wealthy on luxury items. Currently Japanese manufacturers dominate the Indonesian sales charts. Volkswagen is charging Brit David Goggins, currently vice president for China North at joint-venture FAW-Volkswagen, with establishing the manufacturer's presence in the country.
1052 Local Chinese car makers are starting to gain traction in their home market, particularly in the cheap, small SUV sector analysts have revealed to Jim Holder. Sales of SUVs are growing faster than any other sector in the region, and the largest gains are being made by local manufacturers tapping in to demand in emerging areas of the country, say reports. “In areas with emerging infrastructure an SUV makes sense, and the local manufacturers have a more appealing line-up of affordable cars at that level,” said one.
1043 More domestic wonders spotted by Matt Burt. "One of the most astonishing 'copycat' local-market cars to derive inspiration from established manufacturers was the Eagle, a sportscar that seemed to be a hotchpotch of Ferrari and Porsche design cues, and even featured an homage to Zuffenhausen's badge on the nose," he says. It's in our gallery if you want to see it.
1037 Volkswagen has high hopes for its plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles in the Chinese market in the years ahead, says Matt Burt. Although sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles in China have proved sluggish thus far, government legislation is making them increasingly viable. “I predict that by the year 2020 we will sell hundreds of thousands of e-mobility vehicles in China,” said Volkswagen China chief executive Jochem Heizmann.
1030 According to Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche, China will rival the US as Mercedes-Benz’s biggest market in 2015, before moving ahead. "And once it is ahead, it will stay ahead," he told Andrew Frankel.
1023 Holder's also been over to Peugeot, where senior execs have been telling all on the success of the GT Line trim. "Peugeot GT and GT Line sales are accounting for 22% of 308 sales in Europe at present, underlining the brand’s decision to focus on maximising sales of core models rather than developing spin-off models, according to boss Maxime Picat. 'In the past we chased multiple silhouettes of vehicles and lost our innovation. I have told my team to focus on making the most of our core models, and by doing that we will be able to focus and pull ourselves far higher than would otherwise be possible.'"
1016 Jim Holder's got the following on a previous motor show smash hit. "The limited edition run of 500 McLaren 675LT models sold out within a month of the car going on sale - and before any customers had driven it. The 675LT cost £259,500, or around £64,500 more than the 650S on which it is based."
1012 Matt Burt has spied the Chery Ant 3.0, a Renaut Twizy-style electric car. He says: "The oddball Chery Ant 3.0 is the latest in a line of future mobility concepts from the Chinese auto maker. As well as featuring gullwing doors for easy of entry into the cleverly packaged pod, the Ant offers the potential of hooking up with other vehicles in a road train."
1004 Seat showed off its bold 20V20 SUV concept at the Shanghai motor show, even though the manufacturer doesn’t have an official presence in China. However, company boss Jürgen Stackmann didn’t rule out an entry into the country’s lucrative car market at some point in the future: “Our business is getting stronger every day. Our portfolio is growing and that is opening doors to new markets globally. Maybe the Chinese market as well. We’re still investigating that, so stay tuned.”
0954 The brand new platform that underpins the new MG GS SUV will not only also underpin the next generation MG6 but also many Roewe products aimed at the domestic market, Andrew Frankel has learned.
0947 Andrew Frankel's been finding out about the next-generation Mercedes-AMG E63. Not only will it pack a 600bhp punch, but it will also feature as standard four-wheel drive in all markets. A Mercedes spokesman assures us it will still feature an oversteer-friendly driving mode.
0943 Matt Burt's still regaling tales of the VW Group evening last night. He says: "Ducati’s chief executive Claudio Domenicali undoubtedly made the coolest entrance to the Volkswagen Group’s preview night ahead of the Shanghai motor show. He rode on stage on the Italian bike manufacturer’s new motorcycle for China, complete in a Ducati leather jacket but wearing his suit trousers and shoes."
0940 Porsche underscored its commitment in China with the world premiere of 'Style Edition' versions of the 911 Carrera and Boxster, which essentially come laden with a high specification of standard kit. Possibly more exciting was the presence at the VW Group preview event of the 935/78 endurance racing car, nicknamed 'Moby Dick'.
0928 More cultural observations from Matt Burt. "Throughout Shanghai, brightly coloured variants of the Volkswagen Santana are ubiquitous as the local taxi cabs. Indeed, since the car was introduced in 1983, more than 4.6m examples have been sold, promptly Volkswagen China chief executive Jochem Heizmann to claim it is the model that 'put China on wheels'. The manufacturer showed off a reinterpretation of the Santana at the Shanghai show."
0925 Lamborghini has celebrated its tenth anniversary in China at the Shanghai motor show by giving the limited-edition Aventador LP-750-4 Superveloce its first airing in Asia.
0921 Another interesting snippet here from Jim Holder on Chinese car sales. "Underlining the emergence of the small SUV sector as the fastest growing area for sales in China, the Citroen C3-XR - essentially a jacked up Citroen C3 with body-cladding - is currently the firm’s best-seller. Launched last December, it currently accounts for 10,000 sales per month."
0915 Jim Holder has been finding out more about PSA's new DS brand and its aspirations. "DS boss Yves Bonnefont is predicting that the number of niche models in the car industry will retract in the coming years, reasoning that the marketing and training required to sell them is becoming to great. 'The complexity is too much - each new body shape needs its own marketing spend, it needs the salesmen training to sell it and it must compete with other cars in the range,' said Bonnefont, who plans a six-car line up for DS by 2020."
0905 More from Frankel: "Europe has 33 cities with more than one million inhabitants, China has 270. Shanghai is the most populous not just in China but the world, with approximately 25 million residents, a number expected to double by 2050. This more than anything explains the obsession of all major manufacturers with this country."
0904 Bit of housekeeping here from Andrew Frankel. He says: "The National Exhibition and Convention Centre in Shanghai comprises 16 halls, each large enough to house a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It covers 500,000 square metres and is claimed by some to be the largest convention centre in the world."
0852 Jim Holder has met with PSA boss Maxime Picat. Here's one of the topics of discussion: "Peugeot boss Maxime Picat feels that PSA Group’s decision to spin its DS badge off as an independent premium brand has enhanced the clarity around his company’s market positioning. 'Peugeot has never wanted to be premium - just to sit at the top level of the generalist brands,' he said. 'We have our specifics, and we have our own space to pursue characteristics that we can benchmark among the best of our competitors, be they in engine efficiency, interior quality and so on.'"
0841 Another brand going great guns in China is Skoda. Matt Burt says this: "Skoda chief Winfried Vahland reckons its new Superb is a model that’s 'really made for China'. He said the brand’s flagship saloon, 'makes a great impression for the brand with its modern, expressive design, innovative technology and highest comfort and dynamic performance'."
0838 More on Volvo from Jim Holder here. "Volvo’s popularity in China is too rooted in its Swedish brand values and European status for the firm to ever play on its Chinese ownership, according to Lars Danielson, the firm’s boss in the region. 'To be successful in China requires us to be recognised as a global premium brand - that is why customers aspire to buy us, not because of any links with China,' he said."
0835 Volvo has been busy in the lab and has managed to shave 10g/km off the CO2 emissions of the XC90 plug-in hybrid. The new CO2 figure is 49g/km.
0823 Here's an interesting one. Remember the LandWind X7, the copycat design of the Range Rover Evoque? Looks like the promised complaint from Land Rover never arrived.
0811 Lotus may not have a major presence at the Shanghai show, but it has still made headlines with an announcement of a new joint venture deal, which should lead to the creation of the first Lotus branded SUVs.
0800 Frankel has also been over to McLaren, where he has found out that the firm is considering a GT4 racing version of its 570S. Oh, and a return to Le Mans may also be on the cards...
0750 Andrew Frankel has also been blogging, this time on just how important the Mercedes-Benz GLC will be for the UK market.
0747 Interesting piece from editor Jim Holder on the impact China is having on western car culture.
0741 The special Range Rover produced to celebrate Land Rover's six million production milestone isn't the Range Rover getting people talking at the show. Instead it's the Startech-created pick-up version of the model. It's quite something.
0733 This is how Matt Burt usually spends a Sunday evening: "It’s customary for Volkswagen to wheel out some local musical talent to entertain the masses who attend the preview night ahead of a motor show. In Shanghai we were treated to classical pianist Jane Xie and singers Ding Dang and Yu Feng.
0729 While McLaren wants all eyes on its 540C, our editor Jim Holder has picked up this interesting snippet on something at the other end of its range. He says: "Speculation continues that the next generation McLaren P1 will be a track-only super car. So far, McLaren has pledged to only replace the P1 when a suitable leap in technology becomes available, something that insiders have hinted may be at least ten years away. However, customer reaction to the track only McLaren P1 GTR has already suggested that buyers would prefer the ultimate expression of road car engineering to be more track than road focused."
0718 Another overnight reveal was of the six millionth Land Rover to be produced. Conveniently, it was a Range Rover, which is celebrating its 45th year in production. It's got a few special features, which you can find out about here.
0715 Shanghai is seven hours ahead of the UK, so overnight you'd have missed a couple of key reveals. The McLaren 540C is one, the 533bhp entry-level model in its Sports Series range. It's the most affordable McLaren yet at £126,000, and is available from early 2016.
0707 VW often refers to China as its 'second home market', and the VW Group has big plans for the years ahead. Back to Burt: "The Volkswagen Group is planning to roll out more than 60 new models and derivatives in China this year, including those made in conjunction with joint-venture partners FAW and Shanghai Volkswagen. It will also launch 15 different electric and hybrid models in the all-important Chinese market during the next four years."
0705 Matt Burt was at the Volkswagen Group preview event last night. He says: "The big talking point ahead of the Volkswagen Group preview night was whether chief executive Martin Winterkorn, fresh from successfully riding a wave of dissent from chairman Ferdinand Piech, would be giving the keynote speech at the top of the show. Disappointingly he did not, scuppering any possibility of him receiving a hero's welcome, with 'illness' given as the official reason for his absence. VW China boss Jochem Heizmann gamely held the fort."
0701 The Shanghai motor show is home to some weird and wonderful creations from the domestic car makers, but first the big guns from the west take centre stage. Key cars at the show include the McLaren 540C, Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, and the Citroen Aircross concept.
0657 Welcome to Autocar's live coverage of the Shanghai motor show. Our team, including editor Jim Holder, head of content Matt Burt, and contributor Andrew Frankel are at the show to bring you the best of the action.
Shanghai motor show 2015 - key models
Audi A6 L e-tron - China-only long-wheelbase version of the A6 gets a new plug-in hybrid version.
Audi Prologue Allroad - The third model in Audi's Prologue family of concept cars takes the form of a high-riding Allroad model. It most closely previews the next A6 Allroad, due in 2018.
Audi's petrol plug-in hybrid system - Specifically developed for Asian markets at this stage, the German manufacturer claims average CO2 emissions of 60g/km for its petrol electric hybrid system in the new Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro. The technology could also find its way into next year's all-new Audi A4.
BMW X5 xDrive40e - BMW's hybrid X5 instead makes its global debut in Shanghai. The model offers up to 85.6mpg and CO2 emissions of as little as 77g/km.
Cadillac CT6 Hybrid - New luxury saloon is now offered with a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.
Citroën Aircross concept - Citroën's new concept car shows how the stylish looks of the C4 Cactus could be applied to other models, and previews a new family of crossovers from the French brand.
Land Rover's six millionth car - Land Rover reached a production milestone on April 2 when its six millionth car to be built rolled off the Solihull production line. It was a Range Rover, a model celebrating its 45th anniversary.
McLaren 540C - The second model from McLaren's new Sports Series should come with around 533bhp and will be priced at around £127,000.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé - New Mercedes-Benz concept previews upcoming GLC Coupé, a fully fledged BMW X4 rival based on the C-Class platform.
MG GS SUV - MG's first ever SUV has recently been spotted testing in the UK, but will go on sale in China later this year after its Shanghai debut.
Mini's augmented reality glasses - Still in the prototype phase, the technology has the capability to improve visibility by rendering A-pillars and doors invisible. Navigation instructions can also be projected in front of the driver.
Peugeot 308 R Hybrid concept - The french car firm will unveil a bonkers hybrid version of its small family hatchback. Combined power from the 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors is 493bhp.
Porsche 911 and Boxster Style Editions - New versions of the 911 and Boxster are high-spec versions of the two sports cars.
Startech Range Rover pick-up - Madcap pick-up truck version of the Range Rover has been created by tuning firm Startech.
Volkswagen C Coupe GTE concept - Big new coupe-come-saloon previews a new model that will sit between the Passat CC and Phaeton in VW's line-up.
Volkswagen Scirocco GTS - Facelifted two-door coupé gets exterior and interior additions over the Scirocco's R-Line trim.
Volvo XC90 Excellence - Top-end version of Volvo's SUV ditches its usual seven-seat layout for a four-seat version aimed at offering a luxurious experience for the two rear passengers.
Shanghai motor show 2015 latest news
Peugeot's next generation 508 to feature autonomous tech
McLaren considering hardcore GT4 version of the 570S
PSA Peugeot Citroen outlines electric car strategy
'No issues' with Land Rover over Chinese Range Rover Evoque copy
Range Rover Evoque versus LandWind X7 copycat - which is better?
Peugeot RCZ will not be replaced
Bentley considers styling tweaks for EXP 10 Speed 6
Citroen, DS and Peugeot commit to two platform strategy
New Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid emissions fall to 49g/km
DS boss hints at innovative new suspension system
Lotus forges joint venture to build 'passenger vehicles' in China
PSA rules out merger with Fiat-Chrysler
Bentley remains warm over Le Mans return
DS brand to prioritise plug-in hybrid tech over horsepower
Shanghai motor show 2015 - key models from home manufacturers
BAIC BJ80 - the mid-size AWD SUV could be released later this year and has double wishbone front suspension with a multi-link rear end.
Brilliance V3 - compact SUV has funky styling and will launch on the Chinese market after the Shanghai motor show.
Brilliance-BMW Zinoro Concept Next - concept SUV with electric powertrain that has a power output of 170bhp.
BYD Yuan - The first of two SUV concepts from BYD is dubbed Yuan and described as a hybrid variant of the firm's BYD S1 compact SUV.
BYD Song - The Song is a hybrid version of BYD's S3 SUV.
Changan electric coupé - four-door electric concept car features a 165bhp powertrain.
Dongfeng Number 1 - concept saloon with Citroen C6 underpinnings.
Dongfeng Fengshen AX3 - powered by a 1.4-litre petrol with a turbocharged option, the compact SUV will be joined by the bigger Fengshen A5 in the range which is topped by the Fengshen A7.
Haima M6 - after delays, this is the production version of the saloon car which will launch on the Chinese market later this year.
Haval H8 - top-end SUV from Great Wall Motor is set to rival other luxury SUVs on the Chinese market.
Haval H6 Coupe - sporty SUV includes electrically adjustable front seats, a panoramic sunroof and 8.0in touchscreen.
Honda Dongfeng Concept D - aggressively-styled SUV concept hints at what the production-ready model may look like.
JAC Refine A6 - the successor to the J7 saloon, the Refine A6 is seen as a copycat Audi A6.
Jiangling Yusheng S330 concept - futuristic Yusheng 330 concept reportedly previews a new compact SUV.
Lifan X80 - the SUV is the largest car in the Lifan range.
Lifan X40 - compact SUV that sits under the recently-launched X50 in the Lifan range.
Lifan X70 - concept mid-size SUV with mild Toyota styling cues.
Nissan Lannia - result of the Friend-Me and Lannia concepts from 2013 and 2014, the saloon is targeted at the younger Chinese generations, according to Nissan.
Qoros SUV concept - Teaser concept will give styling clues to an SUV model expected to reach Chinese showrooms at the end of the year.
Trumpchi GA8 - concept is a preview of the flagship saloon of Trumpchi range which will launch in China at the end of this year.
Venucia VOW - crossover Venucia Over Wonder (VOW) is a concept from the Dongfeng Nissan partnership that previews the production model which will be launched later this year.
Zoyte E01 - Mixing styling elements from the BMW i3, Smart Fortwo and even the Range Rover Evoque, Zoyte's EV has a claimed range of 93 miles.
Zoyte Z700 - Like the JAC Refine A6, the Z700 saloon looks closely based on the Audi A6.
Read more Shanghai motor show news
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