Shanghai Auto Show is not just about cars.

In the face of electrification and intelligence, the global automobile industry is standing at the crossroads of transformation. The 2023 Shanghai Auto Show was titled "Embracing the new era of the automobile industry", which is also a new era of the industry. More than a hundred years after the automobile was born, the rise of China market accelerated the transposition of fuel vehicles and electric vehicles, and also made the A-class auto show of the "muscle" show more grounded and diversified. Entering the 20th Shanghai Auto Show, the status of Chinese and foreign auto companies is also changing. The high attention attracted by the Internet and upstream and downstream enterprises also makes the focus of this auto show no longer limited to "one car".

The audience "looks" differently.

In the 1980s, the domestic auto market was still in its infancy, and the public was even more unfamiliar with auto shows. In July 1985, the first Shanghai Auto Show was officially opened, which allowed the domestic public to get close to the "global car feast" for the first time, and the number of visitors on the first day of the opening exceeded 20,000. It has been reported that "this is a grand meeting to show the new achievements of the automobile industry in the 1980s and seek exchanges and cooperation in the automobile industry". At the first Shanghai Auto Show, the newly established Shanghai Volkswagen exhibited its first model-Santana, which has also become one of the classic "old three" in the auto market, and family cars have also begun to enter the daily life of consumers in China.

Subsequently, Beijing Auto Show and other domestic A-class auto shows were held one after another. Shanghai Auto Show not only introduced "flowing water" to the auto market, but also the former auto show landscape-"car model" appeared at Shanghai Auto Show for the first time. In 1993, Toyota tried to attract the audience with car models for the first time at the Shanghai Auto Show, and the results were excellent. Since then, going to the auto show to see car models and luxury cars has once become a hot topic in every auto show.

Nowadays, the times have changed, the domestic automobile market has entered the stock stage from the high-speed expansion stage, and the Shanghai Auto Show has also changed. At the Shanghai Auto Show in 2023, the "home" status of fuel vehicles was gradually replaced by new energy vehicles. The "car models" and stars who once overshadowed the car show at the auto show have also "cooled down", and the audience’s exhibition habits and the display of car companies are changing. Beijing business today reporter learned that only Wang Kai, Zhu Yawen, Bo Huang and other stars attended the new car release session of car companies.

In fact, in the era when the whole people bring their own "traffic", the landscape of the auto show has become a network anchor. These anchors not only introduce the vehicle information and broadcast the conference live, but also wander among the booths to help off-site consumers answer questions and broadcast the details of the auto show in the first time. Beijing business today reporter learned that some live broadcast teams even "stop broadcasting". A person in charge of the live broadcast team of the Shanghai Auto Show told the beijing business today reporter: "Our live broadcast is to take turns to change people, the male anchor talks about the car, and the female anchor answers the questions of the backstage consumers at the booth, which can meet the needs of different audiences at different times."

Traditionally, the first two days of each Shanghai Auto Show are media days. During this period, various car companies focus on releasing new models and corporate strategies, but during the media day, the public can only learn about the auto show information through media post-reports. Through the information of various live broadcast rooms and video platforms, the public can learn about the auto show dynamics and product information at the first time. If beautiful car models and stars bring attention to car companies’ booths, then the live broadcasts of major car companies and consumers are closer, so that consumers all over the country can intuitively participate, thus stimulating potential consumption power. "Live broadcast is more helpful for enterprises than star car model drainage." An insider of a car company said: "Compared with ten years ago, the public is now more concerned about the needs of products, technology and price when they come to the auto show, not just watching the excitement. The live broadcast will enable consumers to have an understanding of the products and auto shows when the public day is open, making it easier for consumers who come to the exhibition later and more targeted. "

Multinational car companies organized a group to "learn from the classics"

At the same time, the audience changed their focus on the auto show, and the "roles" of Chinese and foreign auto companies were also exchanged.

Before the opening of this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, overseas media published an article entitled "China car buyers have given up their love for foreign brands". From the outside world, the title of this article points out the "anxiety" of multinational car companies at present, and after the opening of the Shanghai Auto Show, there are frequent scenes in which multinational car companies organize groups to "learn from their own brands".

At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, BYD, which won the global new energy vehicle sales crown last year, launched a brand-new micro-electric vehicle Seagull, which attracted many foreign car companies after the new car was released. Beijing business today reporter saw at BYD booth that a staff member was introducing the vehicle information to a group of visitors. As can be seen from the exhibitor’s certificate, these visitors were the staff of Volkswagen Group, and some media even photographed audi ag executives appearing at BYD booth. At the same time, looking up at the car booth, which made its debut at the Shanghai Auto Show, was even more crowded, including executives of ultra-luxury brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley.

It is worth mentioning that it is not the first time that foreign executives have paid attention to the China booth, but it was quite embarrassing before. In 2017, Zotye Automobile booth, which became famous for its "imitation", exhibited the highly popular model SR9. Because of its similar appearance to Porsche Macan, Obermu, then CEO of Porsche, also came to Zotye Automobile booth to find out. After seeing that the appearance of SR9 is highly similar to that of Porsche Macan, the embarrassed expression on Obomu’s face was captured by netizens and became one of the hot topics at the auto show. However, with the continuous improvement of the R&D capability of independent brands, the mentality of senior executives of foreign car companies when they visit their own brand booths has also changed. Kang Kai, general manager of Weilai Shanghai Company, said: "On the first day of the Shanghai Auto Show, Weilai booth welcomed a lot of overseas car executives, some made an appointment in advance, and some came uninvited. Everyone was curious about everything from new cars to innovative services." Some netizens said: "Now foreign car companies are coming to learn from us, not us!"

The change in the mentality of senior executives of foreign car companies comes from the fact that China car companies have seized the limelight of new energy vehicles. Data show that the sales of pure electric vehicles in China market reached 5.36 million last year, accounting for about 2/3 of the total global sales. Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the Passenger Car Market Information Association, believes that the sales volume of new energy passenger cars will reach 8.5 million this year, which is expected to increase by about 30%.

China auto companies seize the right to speak of new energy vehicles, and the huge scale and incremental space of China’s new energy vehicle market make multinational auto companies feel pressure. In March this year, the domestic retail sales of new energy passenger cars reached 543,000, up 21.9% year-on-year and 23.6% quarter-on-quarter. In terms of market share, the retail share of mainstream independent brands of new energy vehicles has reached 67%, and joint venture car companies only account for 5.8%. Yan Jinghui, a member of the china automobile dealers association Expert Committee, believes that in the past two years, the market share and penetration rate of electric vehicles in China’s automobile industry have continued to increase, and at the same time, the strength of China’s automobile enterprises is not weak in three-power technology, internet technology and intelligence, which makes foreign automobile enterprises "like elephants turn around" begin to learn from China’s experience.

At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, not only the senior executives of foreign auto companies visited their own brand booths, but also the heads of German brands such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz were present collectively. Among them, Kang Linsong, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercedes-Benz, came to China a week before the auto show, and nearly half of the board of directors of BMW Group participated in the BMW "Innovative Future Night" held on the eve of the auto show. Volkswagen brand, Porsche and Audi of Volkswagen Group also led a considerable number of delegations to participate in this auto show. He Xiaopeng, chairman and CEO of Xpeng Motors, said: "No one can beat the trend." The 2023 Shanghai Auto Show made the heads and executives of global car companies aware of the arrival of a new era.

In the second half, the technical flow was superior.

If the protagonist of the auto show was "car" ten years ago, it may be necessary to add more protagonists now. At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, the trend of car electrification to intelligence has become more and more obvious, and more new players have appeared in the car "friend circle".

According to the information released by the Organizing Committee of Shanghai Auto Show, companies such as Baidu, Huawei, Horizon, Black Sesame, NavInfo, Yikatong Technology, Horizon and Xingji Meizu participated in the exhibition, all of which are head enterprises in the industries of chips, autonomous driving solutions and high-precision maps. These enterprises are trying to break down the cooperation barriers and information barriers between upstream and downstream links, and formally participate in the automotive technology and industrial transformation.

As one of the Internet giants, Baidu participated in the Shanghai Auto Show as an independent exhibitor for the first time, and its booth exhibited Apollo Zhijia based on L4 autonomous driving technology. Although it is a "newcomer" at the auto show, in the field of autonomous driving, Baidu has entered the game as early as 2013. Baidu related people said that the automobile intelligent racing competition has started, and the next three years will be the key window period. The knockout caused by electrification will reappear in the intelligent stage, and car companies should plan ahead.

Data show that in the first quarter of this year, the market penetration rate of new energy passenger cars in China exceeded 26%, and the new energy vehicle market has shifted from "initial market" to "intelligent second half". In 2023, McKinsey’s insight report on automobile consumers in China showed that 75% of consumers have demand for high-speed intelligent driving, and 60% of consumers have demand for urban intelligent driving. "When the market is intelligently completed, it will be difficult for cars without intelligent driving ability to enter the user’s car purchase list." Li Zhenyu, president of Baidu Group’s intelligent driving business group, said. Chu Ruisong, vice president of Baidu Group and general manager of the Smart Car Division, believes: "Whoever can take the lead in providing consumers with a safe and secure intelligent driving experience with a real sense of acquisition will probably gain the first opportunity in the intelligent competition in the second half."

Huawei, another company focusing on providing smart car solutions, attracted attention at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. Beijing business today reporter saw at Huawei’s booth that the exhibits not only included its cooperative models, but also exhibited products such as ADS 2.0, a high-level intelligent driving system. In building cars, Huawei always keeps "not building cars", but its technology has long been integrated into car companies’ products, which also makes Huawei associated with "cars" at the auto show.

In addition to technology companies that provide solutions, battery companies have also become the focus of attention at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. In the era of electrification, car companies and power battery companies need each other. Last year, the cumulative installed capacity of power batteries in China was 261.8GWh, up 84.3% year-on-year. In terms of materials, the market share of lithium iron phosphate battery surpassed that of ternary lithium battery, reaching 55.6%. At the same time, the power battery technology has developed in many ways, among which the discussion among Kirin battery, large cylindrical battery, sodium ion battery and solid-liquid mixed semi-solid battery is constant.

At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, companies including Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited, Honeycomb Energy, Yiwei Lithium Energy, Xinwangda and Zhongchuang Singapore Airlines all participated. Among them, Xinwangda released a flash rechargeable battery product solution. Xinwangda said that the square flash rechargeable battery has been mass-produced, and the development of the first generation cylindrical flash rechargeable battery will be completed this year. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited, as the head, officially released condensed battery at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. It is reported that condensed battery has the characteristics of high safety, high reliability and long cycle life. Compared with traditional lithium-ion batteries, condensed batteries can store more energy per unit volume or weight. Wu Kai, a scientist, said that condensed battery has the characteristics of high specific energy and high safety, and the energy density of monomer is up to 500Wh/kg.