Concept cars are great, they show the full design capabilities of a companies internal or contracted design studio and sometimes they show where a car company is heading, be it more up market or more down with the kids.
When Hyundai launched their Shou Wang brand and also the first Shou Wang sedan the Chinese media went a little off the rails. Hyundai is likely the only company in the Chinese market that actually needs a sub brand, as the Korean brand goes further up market with increasingly improved products the bottom end of the market still needs to be taken care of as well, hence Shou Wang.
The first concept from Shou Wang, shown left, was a grand swooping design with attractive curves at each corner, it looked more like a future mid range luxury car than something that was going to be pushed into a sub brand to keep the main brand from being disenfranchised from its lower market customers.
However, concepts are concepts of course and the bitter truth of reality has hit home, the first Shou Wang to hit the streets will be the third generation Hyundai Elantra (pictured lower left) which has been given a makeover to make it look somewhat like the Shou Wang concept shown above, but somehow looks nothing like it at all.
The interesting thing about the Elantra-Shou Wang on the left is that it doesn’t have an engine, instead the traditional gasoline has been dumped in favor of an all electric drive system. This model will know be known as the BH7000 and has enough juice to power its 20Kw motor up to top speeds of 120kph with a total weight of 1440kg including batteries. This model has apparently already been cleared for production and should hit the production lines in the next few months.
Chinese commentators have been harsh on the introduction of sub brands by foreign manufacturers in the Chinese market as foreign car companies have basically recycled their old products with a new brand which hasn’t given the Chinese car industry any sort of technological advancement. However, Shou Wang’s production of a valid electric car might make other joint venture manufacturers sit up and pay attention.