The Made-in-China label is rarely synonymous with stylish design. So its good to see that Brilliance JinBei Automotive has got rave reviews from the specialist press for its new Italian-designed models, shown recently at the Geneva car show.
EngagingChina has always had a soft spot for good design and used to live near Pininfarina's factory in northwestern Italy.
The firm has been responsible for some truly mythical vehicles in
the past fifty years but has also produced more than its fair share of
half-baked “concept cars” that, deservedly, never make it beyond the
Whatever your opinion of automotive design, its interesting to see
that one Chinese car maker has finally decided to take design seriously
by contracting Pininfarina to design its new BC3 coupé (shown above)
and Giugaro — another mythical Italian design house — to style its
BS6 and BS4 saloons, which are badged as the Zhongua in China.
The injection of Italian design flair has apparently worked wonders
as the Brilliance models have even managed to impress European motoring
hacks, who are a particularly jaded audience. According to Auto Express:
Brilliance JinBei Automobile stole the show, with a debut appearance
marked by three models set to hit UK dealers. The newest is the BC3
coupé, which owes much of its styling to Italian design house
Pininfarina. But its toned physique, aggressive sporty features and
18-inch alloys weren't the only features attracting show-goers.”
Another trade magazine, Car Design News, cited the Brilliance BS6 (show right) as an example of the more sophisticated designs coming not just from China but also Russia, India and South Korea.
car industry may have finally learnt to play the design card, but so
too have carmakers in other emerging countries, it seems.
German importer HSO Motor Europe has exclusive rights to sell the
Brilliance in Europe and hopes to shift 3,000 vehicles this year. The
firm successfully launched Hyundai on to the German market back in the
early 1990s, so it knows a bit about uphill struggles.
Design isn't everything of course and the BS6 has apparently scored
badly in a German crash test, which may put off safety-conscious
buyers. This Auto Express review also complains about the car's poor equipment levels, “cheap-looking leather upholstery” and spongy ride.
Still, Brilliance is moving in the right direction and its success
in at least getting noticed in the very crowded European car market
shows that China's youthful car industry seems destined to make a
bigger splash in the west.