Every year, China wraps up the auto show season with an enormous event that alternates between Shanghai and Beijing. Not all of the production cars and concepts introduced at this year’s Auto Shanghai are relevant to our market, but walking the sprawling show floor lends valuable insight into the trends actively shaping the global auto industry.
Two terms sum up the trends of this year’s show: “electrified” and “crossover.” With the notable exceptions of the BMW M4 CS and the Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan, nearly all of the major debuts slot into at least one of those categories.
Jeep surprised attendees in Shanghai by riding both waves. The company is known for building burly, off-road-focused models and selling them primarily in the United States. That’s changing fast; Jeep recently emerged as one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ most successful brands and one of the few that’s truly global.
While the company’s American engineering team was busy stuffing a Hellcat engine between the Grand Cherokee’s fenders, its Chinese counterpart was developing what could soon morph into Jeep’s answer to the Honda Pilot and the Volkswagen Atlas.