Chinese automakers show off concept sportscars, amid auto market slump

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GAC unveiled its electric sports car prototype on Sept. 26, 2020, at the Beijing auto show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

BEIJING — Some of the flashiest items Chinese companies had on display at the first major auto show since the coronavirus pandemic were concept sports cars.

While vehicle sales for state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) fell 9.87% from a year ago in the first eight months of 2020, following a decline of nearly 4% last year, the company has been developing an electric sports car called “Enpulse.”

The company revealed the glimmering metallic vehicle to media on Saturday at the Beijing auto show, which was delayed by five months due to the outbreak of Covid-19. 

The convertible electric sports vehicle features a yellow interior with striped pink sections, evoking a rainbow. The car was developed by GAC’s global design team, particularly designers from the company’s Los Angeles office, according to GAC.

“Before the advent of cars, traveling afar was ambitious,” Zhang Fan, vice president of design, GAC R&D, said at Saturday’s launch event, according to an official translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.

“Before the advent of electric vehicles, making sports cars accessible to everyone was also ambitious,” he said, adding, “We hope that the Enpulse will chart the course for the realization of our ambition and make the classic sports car romance accessible to everyone.”

GAC’s vehicle sales climbed double-digits in July and August from a year ago. The company still hopes to achieve its goal of 3% growth this year.

Also attracting a bit of a crowd at the Beijing auto show was state-owned Hongqi’s S9 sports car. The hybrid turquoise vehicle was first unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September 2019, according to state media, and claims a maximum speed of 400 kilometers-an-hour. 

Chinese state-owned brand Hongqi