What Bertone Could Do For A Chinese Nameplate

Here’s a the Changan CS35 as presented by Car News China. 

2014 Changan CS35 spyshot: carnewschina.com
2014 Changan CS35 spyshot: carnewschina.com

Mark Hamilton spurred this inquiry. The game here is to play spot the reference. I see mostly Ford’s kinetic design below the waistline. The C-pillar was artfully inspired from the Nissan Maxima concept car, I hazard. In the grille the designers have married a blend of Buick and Honda. At the back I see a little BMW in very homeopathic, watered down way. Or else it’s more Nissan. The CS35 does have what look likes good approach and departure angles.

Bertone/GG might be able to give Changan design with some more character. The question is this: is that character more of the same character out of GG’s own styling bag or is would it be unique to this brand? I have felt for a long time that the problem with the Italian styling houses was that they tended to smear whatever car they did with the same icing they were using at the same time for everyone else. Or if a design for Peugeot was rejected it could very easily end up re-cycled for a Hyundai or an Opel if they saw fit.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

7 thoughts on “What Bertone Could Do For A Chinese Nameplate”

  1. Haha, classic! If you’re going to find out that you’ve unexpectedly spurred an inquiry in the standfirst of an article, much better that it’s about Chinese investment in Italian design than something like intentially misleading emissions test results. Thanks for the namecheck, Richard.

    In terms of Changan, apparently they already have a design centre in Turin, so on the evidence of the CS35 they clearly need more, better or different designers working there. But maybe one of the other Chinese industrial groups could be interested in Bertone Giugiaro. Or someone like Mahindra in India who also own the aesthetically-challenged Korean brand, Ssangyong. Now there’s a company that needs an Italian tailor.

  2. European designers will certainly help Chinese manufacturers when they decide to expand outside of their home market, which will happen before long. Changan’s website is full of shiny pictures of their current offering, which is very generic but tidy:


    1. Thanks for pointing this out Laurent. They are tidy but as Richard points out there are a remarkable amount of familiar cues from different manufacturers.

      Before the New Benni and Benni Mini, it seems there was a previous generation called the Benni Love http://www.globalchangan.com/Passenger/231.shtml

      When the tagline is “Benni Love adopts headlamps with protrusions at the corners and more” it makes me wonder whether Benny Doha and his Hillman colleagues have been working in China…

  3. Benny Doha has left Hillman by mutual agreement. His new line is bespoke body kits for Ariel Atoms. These rather basic cars lack much by way of protective bodywork. The idea is that by using state-of-the-art CNC milling and rapid prototyping they can be given coachwork inspired by the great marques of the past such as Rover, Jaguar, Armstrong-Siddley and Alvis. There is also a plan for a LWB version of the car with Bentley-inspired bodywork for the Chinese market. You can see it all at Doha´s website which will be up and running soon.

  4. “The new Benni Love is provided with longer wheelbase, which makes larger inside space and extends the trunk to 466L, better satisfying your demands for traveling and shopping.

    Being the first micro car to be equipped with LED taillights, it looks more brilliant, fashionable and cute at night. The brand-new center console is graceful, and with harmonious 2-tone interior, its sporting, young and fashionable style is highlighted. The streamlines and muscular engine cover provides people with the long-lost feeling of safety.”

    Changan Benni Love: provides people with the long-lost feeling of safety.

  5. I already knew Bertone often recycled their designs and sold them to random carmakers but I very recently learned the extent of this ruse: I didn’t know that the Daewoo Matiz was originally a Bertone proposal to Fiat for a new Cinquecento (ahead of its time at least here) or that the Punto 1 was originally intended for Renault as a Renault 5 replacement (what later became the Supercinq). I understand now where the Punto’s vertical tail lights were coming from.
    People have also noted that Citroën never worked with Bertone again after his Xantia proposal became the Daewoo Espero (it’s still strange that Citroen ended up with a very similar design for the production Xantia even though they rejected his proposal).

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