Mark Tanner
22 April 2013 0 Comments

It appears Shanghai’s bird flu frenzy has been sidelined by the Shanghai 2013 Motor Show this week. Sunday, the first public day of the show, saw an estimated 100,000+ visitors paying ¥100 ($16.20) each to cram into the 280,000 square metres of vehicle displays. In what would be candy shop for opportunistic virus strains, there was barely a face mask in sight, and the old cough & sneeze did little to clear a space.

2,000 stands were spread across the 17 massive halls, showing off 1,300 vehicles, of which 111 were global launches, including 28 from foreign brands.

Mercedes at Shanghai's Motor Show 2013

The electric blue Mercedes; a popular car with Chinese consumers

China’s car-crazy consumers were crawling over themselves to get the best view of the pretty young models, hand of wagon, patiently posing for the tens of thousands of photographers. Many of those photos were soon viewed by the millions on social media. The motor show has quickly risen to the top-20 hottest items on Weibo this morning, with more than 5 million Weibo posts on the subject, including previous shows.

Lamborghini at Shanghai's Motor Show 2013

A crowd favourite from the N1 hall, the Lamborghini stand

The N1 hall was the glamour shed, housing aspiration brands like Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Maserati, Rolls Royce and Bently. A snaking queue in the thousands, reminiscent of Disneyland’s Star Tours in the 80s, eagerly waited to see the latest shiny supercars. Inside felt like the mosh pit at a Bieber gig. Crowds six-deep, hustling for space, all snapping away with DSLRs, smartphones and iPads, in what was as tiring as an early-season rugby match.

Masses of Chinese consumers queuing to get inside the N1 Hall

The masses of Chinese consumers queuing to get inside the N1 Hall at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show

The European auto makers had it over the American, Japanese and Korean brands for consumer buzz. The suite of Chinese makers were another few tiers down in popularity and marketing prowess, although there were quite a few body shapes, logos, etc that looked remarkably like their western competitors. Surprisingly, China’s top-selling Volkswagen, and best selling luxury car Audi, although busy, didn’t appear to have as much buzz as some of their competitors.

Audi at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show

Consumers viewing China’s most popular luxury car brand, Audi at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show

Great Wall at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show

China’s Great Wall at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show, not quite the crowds of the European brands

The Shanghai Motor Show runs until Monday April 29. The cars are quite cool, but the Chinese consumers visiting the show are even more interesting to observe. Well worth a look.

Chinese consumers loving the BMW motorcycles

Maybe she’ll ride for China some day