Roewe : Advancing at Auto Shanghai

Words: Keith Adams Photography: Dan Strong

Roewe is looking to a bright future, with a serious expansion of the range, and alternative fuelled vehicles. But will they come to Europe, or is that reserved for MG?

The Roewe N1 certainly looks more modern than the 550 and 750...

The Roewe N1 certainly looks more modern than the 550 and 750...

SAIC Motor’s strangely-named Rover reincarnation, Roewe, unveiled its N1 concept at Auto Shanghai earlier today. The compact five-door is closely related to the new MG 6 Concept (see separate story below) and, once on sale, it will slot in the Roewe range just below the D-segment 550.

The Roewe N1 has not, as yet, been confirmed for production but AROnline understands that the production version will probably be badged as the Roewe 350 (there will also be a Roewe 250 supermini). An MG derivative (to be called the MG 5?) should follow in either 2010 or 2011.

The Roewe 350 will appeal to more conservative buyers not wanting to take the plunge into the full MG sporting experience and, if recent experience of the Roewe 550 is anything to go by, the Roewe 350 will enjoy a relatively soft ride and cosseting interior.

Other Roewe debuts included the sporting RS version of the 550 and two new alternative fuelled versions of the 750e, including one powered by a new fuel cell and a hybrid.

[Editor’s Note: Ash Sutcliffe of China Car Times has now visited Auto Shanghai and any AROnline readers wishing to view his Gallery of Roewe N1 photographs should click on this link to his Roewe N1: It’s not great, but it’s not bad either article.]

Roewe 550RS gets all sporting

Roewe 550RS gets all sporting

Roewes hybrid future takes a step closer to reality?

Roewe's fuel cell future takes a step closer to reality?

Roewe hybrid

Roewe Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

Roewe N1 rear view

Roewe N1 rear view

Roewe N1 at Shanghai

Roewe N1 at Shanghai

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

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  1. John says:

    Would it be wrong to say I prefer the front end to the MG version??? Seems more memorable to me!

  2. Andrew says:

    That N1 looks superb. I’d have one!

  3. Alexander says:

    I think it is safe to say that the N1 will be built and will look quite close to what has been shown here. It has been spotted out testing, although Autobild labeled it as an upcoming Electric 550… See here:
    http://www.autobild.de/artikel/schriebers-stromkasten-teil-31_865947.html

  4. Hilton Davis says:

    This ROEWE N1 looks rather nice… tones of Lexus and BMW 3 Series in its exterior styling. A car for us to aspire to owning? Maybe…

  5. Chris Chapman says:

    Get a load of the bright blue instrument panel (see photos on other sites) – I wonder if that will make production? The designs appear conservative (but BL often got hammered by being too weird for the marketplace) but, IMO, some details do grow on examination.

    Anyway, at least a lot of development work is going on despite the current poor sales volumes. I can’t help thinking MGR could have done these 5 years ago with a bit more focus and work with Proton, etc. I bet they drive well – Rover always did great chassis. The UK market really needs one box/MPV vehicles. I await the small car with interest – I wonder if SAIC Motor have let the UK team do a modern Mini?

  6. Richard says:

    I prefer it to the MG. It looks less bloated at the back.

  7. James says:

    WOW… This is a fantastic looking car – if only Rover could have produced this, they’d have moved towards becoming the ‘English Audi’ rather than the ‘English Patient’. I, for one, would seriously consider buying this car on looks alone. Let’s hope it drives as well as it looks.

  8. Phil says:

    Personally, I would rather eat my own g***tals than buy into more Rover recycled poop… Move on from this nostalgic dream. MG ceased to be once they put the badge on the god awful pile of junk known as the Maestro – an absolute turd not even good enough for banger racing. This is rebadged toot that needs to be scrapped from day one. Come back the SD1 – all is forgiven my rusty, unreliable friend.

  9. Alex Mathias says:

    Phil :
    Personally, I would rather eat my own g***tals…

    This person has obviously never owned a Maestro so talks pure nonsense. The Maestro was an extremely competitive car in its time. Ride, handling, spaciousness and practicality were all up with the class best.

    Some more development, additional refinement and better finishing could have more than made it a match for the VW Golf.

  10. Antonio Valdina says:

    I think the “Roe-Wah” models look pretty good. Interesting to see what the price points will be. I agree with Alex that the Maestro was pretty well engineered, and occasionally poorly executed, but it was certainly NOT a turd. The MG version was deserving of the badge.

  11. Jack Yan Jack Yan says:

    If the N1 is a Toyota Corolla competitor in Red China, then it looks far better than anything rival OEMs have come up with for the market segment there – with, maybe, the exception of the booted Citroën C4 (called the C-Triomphe – hang on, did someone say Triumph?).

  12. Herbert Glockenspiel says:

    @Antonio Valdina
    Easy to say is “no”.

  13. Shanghai Fred says:

    “SAIC Motor’s strangely-named Rover reincarnation, Roewe” …

    Actually, it’s not so strange when you work it out. Think of the word Roewe as if it were a German word with the second ‘e’ substituting for the umlaut. The pronunciation then sounds more like ‘Rer-va’, just like ‘Loewe’ is pronounced ‘Ler-va’.

    Anyway, we’d better get used to it, as the actual Chinese name is a much worse: ‘rong wei’ – pronounced ‘wrong way’!

  14. Ianto says:

    Antonio Valdina :I think the “Roe-Wah” models look pretty good. Interesting to see what the price points will be. I agree with Alex that the Maestro was pretty well engineered, and occasionally poorly executed, but it was certainly NOT a turd. The MG version was deserving of the badge.

    @Antonio Valdina
    Agreed, the Maestro was a revelation at its launch – it’s just a shame that it had to use such antiquated engines. A K-Series Maestro would, in my opinion, have presented a real challenge to VW (providing it was built properly).

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