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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Even in Shanghai, bakkies are big my China!

South Africa-bound GWM Tank 300 and JAC T9 Hunter take centre stage at Shanghai Motor Show.

The 2023 running of the Shanghai Auto Show marks a significant milestone in the event’s history as this year saw it celebrate 20 years of turning the Shanghai Convention Center into an automotive treasure trove.

It also served as the launch pad for several new models, most notably the already-seen Volvo EX90, Nissan Ariya, Toyota Crown and Camry, and several quirky offering such as the battlefield-ready military looking 917 SUV made by Dongfeng Motors.

Barrage of bakkies

Key models for South Africa included the facelift but almost-new-in-every-aspect Porsche Cayenne and the GWM Tank 300.

The Tank 300, which also showcased several models from its upscale Wey division, also premiered a plug-in hybrid version of its P-Series bakkie, which has so far been kept under wraps for South Africa.

Another interesting addition was a mild-hybrid version of the retro Big Dog and the Shanhai Cannon bakkies that top GWM’s range above the P-Series.

The foundation for the Tank 500, aimed directly at the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, the Shanhai, is another uncertainty for the South African market, but as with the hybrid P-Series, could potentially become a reality should approval be given.

Shanghai Motor Show bakkies GWM P-Series hybrid
A hybrid version of the GWM P-Series on display at the Shanghai Motor Show. Picture: Bernie Hellberg

SA-bound Hunter

Despite not being as popular in China as in South Africa, a strong bakkie presence exists in Shanghai, with the JAC T9 Hunter of being particular interest. Seemingly updated despite little being said, the Hunter, as previously reported, has been given the go ahead for South Africa. An exact date for its arrival hasn’t been announced yet.

Established bakkie builder Ford showcased two versions of the F-150; the Raptor and all-electric Lightning, as well as the new Mondeo, Ranger and smash-hit Bronco bakkies.

Over on the Honda stand, the new CR-V took centre stage along with its Chinese market-only twin, the Breeze, while the ZR-V was another drawcard as it sits between die CR-V and HR-V in Honda’s SUV line-up.

Shanghai Motor Show Honda ZR-V
A Honda ZR-V on display at the Shanghai Motor Show. Picture Charl Bosch

Sedans not dead yet

Despite of SUVs being the global key to market success, sedans remain in the majority in China, as evident by Honda debuting the new Accord and a unique version of the Integra that essentially rates as a revised Civic hatch South Africa won’t get.

ALSO READ: Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max and Ford Ranger bakkies rule the roost

In addition to the Crown, Toyota also unveiled its version of the Corolla sedan, which carries the iconic Levin nameplate, the updated Camry, RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid and the Corolla Cross.

This Corolla Cross which follows the same design language as the model sold in Japan and the United States by sporting a frontal design completely different from the popular South African variant.

Lexus premiered its new RX and the ultra-luxurious facelift LM minivan. The LM was brought to prominence not only as a way of chasing-in on the massive popularity of MPVs in China, but also to rival die massively popular Buick GL8 that has been a dominant force in the segment for years.

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