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What did you miss at Auto Shanghai 2023?

Biannually, Auto Shanghai celebrates the achievements made by OEMs – both domestic and international – while simultaneously looking to the future, offering new announcements, presentations, and debuts focused on what they are looking to achieve in the future. Held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China, the theme for this year’s show was ‘Embracing the New Era of the Automobile Industry’ – captured by exhibitors as they highlighted new technologies, systems, and corporate activities that will come to define this new era.

With the venue just 15 miles (24 kilometers) away from our office in the region, we sent a total of nine members of staff from our China team to attend the exhibition. Focusing on the show’s new models, trends, and technologies, this team – which included our China director, product experts, and analysts – analyzed how these solutions will move the industry forward. This Insight shines a light on some of their findings, identifying the top trends and technologies showcased at Auto Shanghai 2023 as well as their impact on the automotive industry in China and further around the world.

Chinese OEMs expanding into new markets

Many local, domestic, vehicle brands attending the show utilized its platform to launch new corporate strategies – many of which were united under a common theme of expanding overseas. Popular automakers within the China region, including Zeekr, HiPhi, and Chang’an, all detailed their export plans and outlined how they would prioritize digitization and electrification as key entry points into their chosen international markets.

Zeekr revealed plans to open its first European stores in Stockholm, Sweden and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2023 – launching its 001 and X models in both countries before the end of the year. Looking further ahead, the OEM then plans to have a presence in most of the Western European automotive market by the end of 2026. HiPhi is similarly opening its own stores, called Experience Centers, in Munich, Germany and Oslo, Norway, to sell its X and Z models in Europe from Q3 2023, with the first batch of vehicles expected to be delivered within the year.

Chang’an’s strategy looks beyond Europe – accelerating the layout of its products and production capacity while promoting the development of global products and region differentiated development. In fulfilling these goals, the automaker is expecting to enter around 90% of the global automotive market before the end of the decade. For these OEMs, however, and many others looking to expand - there are still difficulties in doing so, such as catering to user habits in these new markets and reviewing overseas data security.

The swan song of ICE vehicles

Official data from the event showed that new energy vehicles (an umbrella term for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles) made up around 22% of the vehicles displayed on the show floor. At the same time, many of the 93 vehicles that made their debut at the Shanghai Auto Show this year were new entries in the NEV category – with the OEMs behind these reveals leveraging their new technologies, eco-friendly drivetrains, and the broader electrification strategies they fit into as key talking points.

Mercedes-Benz Maybach EQS pure electric SUV

While a diverse array of NEVs were present at the event, there was a notable emphasis on the adoption of hybrid solutions by local automakers. Great Wall Motor for example launched an all-new all-wheel drive hybrid architecture called Hi-4, Chery showcased its C-DM hybrid technology, and Hongqi revealed its own HMP hybrid platform based on FME’s “Flag Architecture”. In leveraging hybrid technologies as such an integral part of their operations, these OEMs are commonly working to reduce their fossil fuel consumption while avoiding some of the pain points bought about by the large-scale popularization of the EV charging experience.

Multinational OEMs attending the event were similarly focused on electrification, with many making it their priority across the show floor and in their panels. Their reasons for focusing so deeply on electrification generally aligned with the domestic OEMs – including decarbonization – though the multinationals were also looking to maintain pace with these OEMs. Here, Mercedes-Benz reaffirmed its plan to launch all of its new models on EV platforms after 2025, while Volvo outlined how it is looking to reposition itself as a pure-electric luxury vehicle brand in 2030, occurring before Honda’s electrification deadline of 2040.

New year, new brands

A major trend noted by our team of experts was the launch and presence of various new vehicle brands under more well-known Chinese OEMs. While offering various vehicles at differing price points, the purpose of these brands is largely uniform – to help domestic OEMs diversify their offering and experiment with new approaches, technologies, powertrains, and more.

At the forefront was Galaxy, a new mid-to-high end sub-brand by Geely. With an estimated price range between 150,000 to 300,000 yuan ($21,685 to $43,370), the brand will target two product areas: Smart Hybrid and Smart BEV. In terms of the broader customer experience, Geely Galaxy will have two modes, direct users and agent distribution, while launching a dedicated app for the brand and introducing new standards for both the service and customer experience. The first cars under Galaxy were revealed at Auto Shanghai, including the L7 set to launch in Q2 2023, the L6 sedan set for a Q3 2023 launch, and the pure-electric E8 model for Q4 2023.

Chery iCar

Another popular domestic OEM, Chery, introduced iCar - a brand targeting mainstream automotive consumers at a price range between 150,000 to 400,000 yuan ($21,685 to $57,827). While launching iCar, the OEM also detailed plans to rework its EXEED brand, shifting its appeal to the higher-end auto market. In doing so, the OEM revealed the EXEED E03, a new high-end EV intended to reflect its commitment to the market. Also targeting the high-end market was AION with its newly announced Hyper GT brand. Making its debut at the show, the pure-electric medium and large luxury EV has a pre-sale price range of 219,900 to 339,900 yuan ($31,793 to $49,142). For high-end consumers, AION will use Hyper GT to focus on providing high-end intelligent EVs. The OEM confirmed that the brand itself will act as an independent business operation.

A Software-Defined Future

Another key takeaway from the event concerned the increase in the number of in-house software-defined vehicle solutions coming from the Chinese market. Here, Auto Shanghai widely demonstrated the ways in which many of the region’s suppliers are already offering their own domain control, chip, and central computing platforms that ultimately work to benefit vehicle development. These solutions, for example, will help OEMs reduce vehicle costs – a key incentive and objective for many automakers looking into developing and launching a software-defined vehicle.

For the SDV space, ECarX revealed the Longying No.1, its proprietary 7-nanometer automotive-grade system-on-a-chip (SoC) as well as its Antora 1000 series computing platform, which will launch with the Lynk & Co 08 – an SUV designed by a local OEM. On the show floor, Black Sesame Technologies announced and displayed Wudang, its cross-domain computing platform and showcased a Wudang Series prototype, which provides OEMs with an integrated navigation scheme. Targeting the user experience more directly, Horizon Robotics revealed the next generation of its Nash architecture. Designed to work with large parameter transformers and enable large-scale interactive gaming, the platform ultimately works to provide automakers with a boost in computing power and enable the integration of high-demand technologies into their vehicles.

Another supplier, Core Chi, took a more holistic approach to the show floor, announcing its SCCA2.0 central computing architecture, which includes six core units. Also revealed by the supplier was a pair of new processors, X9SP and V9P, designed to unlock new vehicle software opportunities for many OEMs. The SDV presence at Auto Shanghai was not limited to these companies however, with even more adjacent companies and developers showcasing and debuting new solutions – such as SemiDrive, NavInfo, DiAS, Desay SV, and Youjia Innovation.

2023 and Beyond

As demonstrated throughout this Insight, Auto Shanghai represents a key moment for the automotive industry, allowing its key players and new entrants alike to look into the near and far future. This year’s event was largely defined by the innovation shown by the Chinese and international industries – with many OEMs, suppliers, and developers showcasing forward-thinking solutions that will very quickly become commonplace within industry development practices, the end user experience, and the broader vehicle lifecycle. Though, even with the diversity of topics and the depth and which they were discussed here, this article only reflects a portion of the insights shared in our dedicated report for the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show.

The complimentary report covers the key trends and technologies shown at the 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. Accounting for the in-vehicle displays, AI technologies, connected systems, and ADAS solutions showcased at the event, our experts provide thorough insights into the potential these new technologies have to disrupt the global automotive industry. Further insight is provided through dedicated deep dives into the event’s key takeaways, such as the middle- and high-end road some traditional OEMs are looking to embark on.

Want to learn more about the most important trends, technologies, and takeaways from Auto Shanghai 2023? Click below to download your copy of the full event report!


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