Frankfurt's dark corners

Several interesting miscues at Frankfurt 2011, tucked away in the darker corners of the giant IAA exhibition halls.

An honorable mention goes to the Changan Sense, a 5.2-metre long, four door behemoth with a slightly bulbous nose and ridiculously long wheelbase. I think this Chinese limo concept has surfaced previously, so it’s probably not new, but seeing it in the metal (lots of it) caused jaws to drop for all the wrong reasons. Imposing? Yes. Attractive? No.

Meanwhile, the Russian car industry announced its presence to the world via the ë (pronounded YO in Russian) brand.

The NEW Concept is a one box three seater (two front, one rear) with side doors that slide up and back through the rear bodywork to form an extended, crossed-over swallow tail. As the sign behind it said, “Wing beat freshens up memories before the flight.”

Interesting to see former BMW design chief Chris Bangle looking over the car with a pair of colleagues, before moving on to ë’s other offering, the technically worthy, but visually confronting AWD crossover hybrid concept.

The 4.0-metre long, five-seater is equipped with a small ICE generator, able to be powered by petrol or natural gas, and an electric motor on each axle.

Problem is it looks like something we all drew with crayons in year three. No surprise Mr Bangle was finding it hard to contribute much in the way of positive feedback (that’s him at the right of the group behind the car).

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