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2007 China Automotive Design Conference

Fri, 05 Oct 2007 00:00:00 -0700

The 2007 China Automotive Design & Independent Innovation Conference marked the first gathering of independent Chinese (vs. joint venture) automakers getting together to discuss automotive styling. Taking place at the end of August, more than 140 design professionals from First Auto Works (FAW), Dongfeng Motor, Chery, Brilliance, Chana, Guangzhou Auto, Nanjing Automotive Corp. and newcomers like Lifeng from Chongqing and Neoplan from Zhejiang attended the event. Major suppliers Yengfeng-Visteon and local automotive design house Hidea and Ruifeng as well as Industrial Design education institutions like Tongji University and Jiangsu University were also in attendance.

With Nanjing being the geographical center for the automotive industry in China and SAIC, Chery and Geely all within three hours distance along the Yangtze river, the Jinling Hotel in the city center was the natural point of convergence. 'Independent Innovation', one of the hot topics pushed by the Chinese government in its recent five year plan, also influenced the decision to have professional designers participate in a four-day intensive automotive design workshop lectured by instructors from the Art Center College of Design.

The conference began with a presentation from Chang Bing, Chief Designer at FAW, who spoke about his work on the Hongqi concept sedan and how to apply Chinese elements into modern design language. FAW is one of the oldest Chinese automotive companies (established in 1958) and owns several independent brands: Hongqi, Benteng and Jiefang. Their designs cover everything from passenger cars to industrial trucks.

Zheng Su Lin, Design Director at Dongfeng Motor gave the second presentation. Widely considered to be the most prolific Chinese auto designers, with almost half of today's independent makers' production models having been designed by him in the past five years, Zheng's presentation included more than five production projects for Chery and the recent Geely sedan.