>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009
2009 marks Chinese carmaker Brilliance Auto's first visit to the Detroit auto show. The company builds two lines of vehicles: a mini-bus called the Jinbei, which they claim has 60 percent of the Chinese domestic market, and four passenger cars, including two sedans, a coupe, and a hatchback. The cars turned up in Detroit, and likely represent models similar to those that the company might one day consider thinking about selling in the U.S. someday. In other words, this visit to North America represents little more than a "hey, we exist, and we'd like to sell you our cars sometime in the future."
They all look familiar to some degree, although none is a direct rip-off of another automaker's vehicle, as we've seen with other Chinese marques in the past. And even BYD at this year's show. The company's press conference was dotted with the names of other makers, though, with Brilliance dropping biggies like Toyota, Porsche, and BMW. The connection with the first two was nebulous, but the company does have a joint venture with BMW to produce 3- and 5-series models for the Chinese market. This may explain some of the company's familiar-sounding model names.
Keep Reading: Brilliance Auto M1 / M2 / M3 / FRV - Auto Shows