The Chinese market has become increasingly important to carmakers, and so has the annual Beijing Motor Show. Patrons of that show can count on a few eye-catching concept cars, just like the ones unveiled at Geneva or Detroit. Honda (and its luxury division, Acura) wants to increase Chinese sales, and hopes a couple of concepts will attract showgoers to its booth.
Honda would only say that the two cars it plans to unveil will “focus on Chinese customers.” The two minimal sketches reveal a minivan and a coupe or sedan. The former looks like an Odyssey drawn by Franz Kline; it even has the “lightning bolt” above the rear wheel. The final design could end up being a full-size minivan, like the U.S.-spec Odyssey, or a smaller MPV, like the Ford C-Max or Mazda 5.
The sedan seems to have some Accord styling cues, albeit with a bit more definition around the wheel arches. It’s not surprising that the Honda “family look” seen on the Odyssey and Accord will carry over to these cars, but they will differ in some ways from U.S. or European models.
Chinese buyers prefer luxury, content, and space over styling and performance. That’s why Buicks sell so well in the “Middle Kingdom.” So the sedan may have Accord styling cues, but it could turn out to be the size of a Civic. The more formal styling would give it an upscale feel, and more interior room. If it turns out to be a larger car, this concept could provide another glimpse of the styling of the next Accord, previewed by the Accord Coupe Concept at Detroit. If the minivan features anything like the entertainment and connectivity options on the Odyssey, it should be a hit.
The concepts will help draw attention to a blitz of new Honda products in China. The Japanese company will begin selling the CR-Z, Insight, and Fit hybrid in China later this year. Acura will bring the newly restyled RDX crossover and the new ILX sedan. The show begins April 23rd.