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Shanghai (April 2005)

Name: Auto Shanghai 2005
Show dates: Press Days: Thursday, April 21, 2005 1 day
Trade Days: Friday, April 22, 2005 1 day
VIP Day: Saturday, April 23, 2005 1 day
Public Days: Sunday, April 24 to Thursday, April 28, 2005 5 days
Venue: Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC)

Outline and Impressions of Show:

Auto Shanghai 2005 was held in Shanghai, China over a seven days period from Friday, April 22 to Thursday, April 28, 2005. The venue was Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC), a 100,500 m² exhibition center located a little bit out from the downtown Shanghai area. The facility is new, having been completed in November 2001, and it is still undergoing expansion. Its high ceilings were noteworthy for their ability to take in as much outside light as possible.

Most of the visitors used public transportation, generally subway or bus, to get to the show. In the areas immediately adjacent to the exhibition hall there was motorcycle and bicycle parking, making this a typically Chinese scene. 60 to 70% of visitors were men between 25 and 35 and “white-collar” business people. Admission was 80 yuan (approximately \1,040) on Trade Day; 40 yuan (approximately \520) on exhibition days.
The tickets themselves were made of plastic with a magnetic code strip. The ticket was passed through a card reader and then a hole punched in it upon entrance. Another indication of how strictly the organizers viewed security were the metal detectors at the gates. Bags were x-rayed and inspected with airport-like thoroughness.

The quality of the booths brought in by exhibiting automakers appeared to be every bit on par with the Tokyo Show, an expression of the interest and expectations riding on the Chinese market. Among the European and American automakers, the Ford and GM companies exhibited as groups, securing large booths to show off each of their brands. Visitors were also very interested in Volkswagen, which commands a large share of the Chinese market. The booth was swamped with crowds when it began to distribute novelties.
The DaimlerChrysler booth located next to Mitsubishi had the Mercedes F1, the Maybach brand and other examples of its “ultra-luxury” cars on display.

Japanese automakers at the show included Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Mitsuoka. According to news reports, the anti-Japanese demonstrations and the up-swell of the anti-Japanese sentiment that occurred just prior to the show caused some of the booths to tone down their displays and to assign extra guards and police officers. However, inside the Japanese automakers’ booths there was none of the tension or sense of danger that the Japanese media reported. In fact, those booths were packed with visitors and if you did not make an effort to search for the guards and police officers, it was almost impossible to pick them out from the crowd. The Lexus brand was on display at the Toyota/Daihatsu Booth and the booth featured the “i-unit” that is also on display at Expo Aichi. Honda had its F1 vehicle on hand, further reinforcing in the technological prowess of Japanese cars.

Turning to display techniques, almost all of the Japanese, European and American automakers used lighting suspended from the ceiling, and many of them assembled trusses from the ceiling to provide a structure for their lights. The Ford booth went a step farther, using ropes hung from the ceiling for crowd-pleasing Chinese acrobatic performances. Chinese automakers took a slightly different approach to their lighting. Few used ceiling lights, preferring instead to use independent spotlights on the floor. This gave their booths more of an open, airy feeling and helped to differentiate the Chinese exhibitors.
Turning to barrier-free design, there were few if any problems in the Japanese booths with steps up between the aisle and the booth, but some European, American and Chinese automakers did have steps and the number of visitors tripping over them seemed to grow in proportion to the congestion in the hall.

Outdoors were exhibitions of commercial vehicles and parts. The weather was good on the day of our visit, and many of the visitors took the opportunity to go outside.
All of the parts exhibitors were located in a temporary hall that was built outside the main venue. The tents were even air-conditioned and were quite suitable as exhibition spaces as long as the weather did not turn violent. It appears that parts will eventually be brought indoors when the venue completes its planned expansion (targeting 200,000 m² indoors and 50,000 m² outdoors in the future). Some audio manufacturers and tire companies were given exhibition space in the outdoor loading area and used “female attendants” in flashy costumes to attract visitors.

The Show attracted 390,000 visitors, well above the 300,000 forecast by the organizers and more than double the approximately 150,000 who came to the last show (which had to be cut short because of the SARS epidemic). All in all, it was a very popular and well received motor show.
Entrance Gate
Volkswagen Booth
BMW (MINI) Booth
Chrysler Booth
Toyota Booth
Nissan Booth
Honda Booth
Outdoor exhibition