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Old 09-02-2008, 12:43 PM   #101
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Default Re: SAIC Roewe 550 (W2)

Roewe 550 review at China Car Times

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China Car Times had the pleasure of test driving a cherry red Roewe 550 earlier today, we left with a massive grin on our faces too.

Exterior Overview:
The Roewe 550 is based on the excellent Rover 75 platform, suspension included. The front end of the Roewe 550 has been criticized for looking a bit too much like a Gillette razor blade, the bonnet has two creases running down the center which gives the car quite an aggressive, sporty appearance. The design is such a breakaway from the classiness of the Roewe 750, we’re wondering if the 750 will get the Gillette style front grill in 2009. The car actually looks quite porky, very rotund, which is also a break from the cigar styled Roewe 750. The 550 measures 4624mm long, 1827mm wide, and 1480mm high, making it a low down car which gives it a sporty stance. Compare that to the Roewe 750 sizing which measures a stately 4865mm long, 1765mm wide, and 1422mm tall. So the 550 is wider, taller, but shorter than the 750, and when you’re driving the 550, it really does feel like you’re in control of a super-mini.

The Interior:
The interior on many of the Chinese made cars is what lets China down as a car making nation, the interiors of Geely, Brilliance (zhonghua), Chery, and a whole host of other manufacturers have (mostly) mastered the art of designing a car (i.e. let the Italians do it), the art of building a car (get your Japanese/German partners to help) but the interiors? Some of them are circa 1970’s Datsun. The Roewe 550 is possibly first Chinese car that actually bucks the interior trend, the leather seats come in two different colors (black, or tan) they support you well, they are comfortable as a seat should be. In addition, the seats can be eased into a million different positional combinations thanks to the series of knobs down the side of the seat, the little knobs and levers almost reminded us of the ‘three sea shells’ in the Demolition Man movie, we couldn’t get them into position properly either, but then I remembered that Roewe is pushing the ‘digital generation’ theme on this car, anything that could be electrically controlled is electrically controlled. We hope the electrical demons that plagued British cars of past, don’t catch up with us in 2008. The dashboard sweeps elegantly from side to side, the dash styling looks like it may have been borrowed from SAIC’s Ssangyong brand.
Some might consider the digital center console to be a nod towards the talking dashboards of previous Austin cars, cars that share common heritage and DNA with the modern 550. When you push the massive ‘wise key’ into the equally massive slot, the dashboard lights up, then you can use the ‘three sea shells’ to move your seat into a suitable driving position. Even Captain Kirk, aboard his Starship did not get so many options on how to sit, or fly his vessel. The counters light up in a racy red color, the in dash screen also lights up in red, giving you the options of playing a DVD, listening to music via CD or SDcard (there is a discreet SDcard slot in the dashboard), loading up the GPS Navigation, utilizing the ultra clear reversing camera or just sitting and looking pretty until you need it. The center arm rest opens up to reveal a twin-can drinks cooler, its actually air conditioned, with a small opening at the bottom that can be opened or closed as needed. Next to the arm rest-come-cooler is an ingenious pop drinks holder – we’ve seen pop out cup holders, but never pop up. The hand brake is also a minor work of art, when on, the handbrake is raised out of the center divider, but when down, it disappears like a chameleon into the splendid wood finish of the dash and center. The boot is reasonably big, and the rear seats fold down to allow a greater storage area, although the seat do not fold entirely flat as they would on an SUV or estate, it allows for a much greater cargo area.

The Drive:
Now onto the important bit. The gearbox on the one we tested was a 5speed autobox, with a sports mode, and the usual automatic P,R,N, and D. As well as a gearstick, the Roewe 550 has F1 style paddle shifters either side of the steering wheel, up a gear on the right, and down a gear on the left. As previously mentioned, you push the massive key into the on dash keyslot, push it in once to start the electrics, then push it in deeper to start the car. The car starts with an impressive growl, to stop the engine, you have to push it in again, and it pops out. The key strikes us a useless novelty, but as a ‘digital generation’ car, perhaps it will sell more. The key is rather large, and we wouldn’t to walk around with it in our pockets, lest people start wondering if im packing heat, perhaps shoving it in the wasteline of my jeans would make me look gangsta?

As I set off, I was impressed by the quietness of the car, granted we were rolling slowly towards a junction but I had to look down at the RPM counter just to make sure the engine was ticking over, because you just couldn’t hear it at all from the cabin! We rolled out towards the junction, to a traffic light, then onto the highway. Setting off from the traffic light I left it in drive, but soon moved it into sports mode to gain control of the F1 flippers either side of the wheel. The gear changes in Drive were not totally smooth, and suffered from minor gear shock when changing up, quite a difference from the silky smooth CVT transmissions Im used to on my Nissans. The paddle shifters work very well, and the all important turbo kicked in as soon as we hit around 40kph, giving the car a noticeable boost. One minor niggle I found were the tiny wing mirrors, they may look sporty, but they aren’t very practical, and make changing lanes a dicey affair. The 550 takes corners with ease at low speeds, and higher speeds, with no noticeable body speeds, the sound of the engine once over 60kph is quite a nice growl for a smaller 1.8 turbo engine, the same engine that graced the Rover 75, Roewe 750, and MG7 1.8T, the 160BHP that the engine produces are not slack when it comes to strutting their stuff. The brakes on the model that I tested were a little spongy, although perhaps that is to be expected of a car that only done 300km in its short life as a test model. The handling of the 550 is quite impressive, once you’re on the open road the car is easy to open up, and will effortlessly hit high speeds, the small steering wheel is amazingly responsive, giving you the feeling that you’re actually driving a super mini and not a 4.5m long car.

In previous articles on China Car Times, the Roewe 550 has been talked up a lot, and truth be told, it’s a car that lives upto those promises. Its luxurios on the inside with its funky technological dashboard, imported German leather seats, excellent woodwork (better than the MG7’s!) and great quality plastics. It drives like any of its MG predasseors did, if not better, and the best thing of all? Its cheap. The model we test drove was on the market for 180,680rmb, this model with its refinements and quality puts a serious thorn in the side of its international competitors in China, chiefly those in similar price ranges and body styles, such as the Ford Focus, VW Sagitar (Jetta in Europe), VW Magotan etc. If there were a car that would push China forward as a mass car producing nation, it would be the Roewe 550. The 550, with the help of SAIC’s international design teams, has side stepped those ‘awkward generations’ that Japanese and Korean car companies found themselves in when it came to making cars. The 550 is a car that will prove to European customers that when China utilizes its greatest assets, it can produce a car that can win over the competition, and more importantly willing buyers. But would my aging uncles buy such a car? Probably not, the amount of technology in the car is quite frankly baffling, gone are the retro designs of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, ex-Rover designers are certainly strutting their stuff for SAIC in Lemington-Spa, and we cant wait to see what they bring out next. If anyone in Europe wanted a car to replace their Rover 45, or even MG ZS, then the Roewe 550 will be that car, albeit possibly as an MG5.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:08 PM   #102
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Default Re: SAIC Roewe 550 (W2)

SAIC opens third plant in city with Roewe 550

2008-9-20


SAIC Motor Corp yesterday opened a 150,000-unit production facility in Shanghai as part of an effort to lead China's self-branded vehicle market.

The 1.2 million-square-meter factory is located in Lingang Industrial Zone, 75 kilometers south of downtown Shanghai, and cost 2.9 billion yuan (US$424.2 million), said Chen Zhixin, executive vice president of SAIC Motor. The first phase will cover around 670,000 square meters.

It will be the nation's largest auto maker's third passenger car plant, enabling SAIC to have a total capacity of 300,000 self-branded cars a year in full operation.

"We are committed to be the leader in China's self-branded car market and form our own competitiveness for sustained growth," said Chen.

SAIC has another two plants in Yizheng and Nanjing in Jiangsu Province after it took over the smaller domestic rival Nanjing Auto at the end of last year.

Besides the production expansion, the Chinese partner of General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG, has also set up three engineering centers in China and overseas.

The Shanghai plant was unveiled yesterday with a Roewe 550 rolling off the assembly line. The vehicle is SAIC's second self-owned model, following the Roewe 750 mid-to-high class sedan introduced in early 2007.

Chen said the Lingang plant was designed to make six models on two platforms. A new mid-class sedan would be launched by the end of next year.

The car maker was also developing a compact car in the Nanjing hub in addition to a new engine with smaller replacement, he said.

SAIC is one of a raft of domestic car makers aggressively taking initiatives to develop Chinese-owned vehicles in moves to be more independent from their overseas partners and enhance global competitiveness.

SAIC said it aimed to produce 600,000 units of self-designed cars by 2010, including 200,000 units of self-designed passenger cars and 400,000 units of commercial cars with self-developed technology.

Self-designed cars are expected to account for 30 percent of SAIC's total sales of 2 million cars by 2010.


http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article...usiness&page=2
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Old 09-21-2008, 06:38 AM   #103
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At International Motor Show in Chengdu, SAIC officialy introduced Roewe 550 Sport equiped with sport bumpers and large rear spoiler. The car lies on 215/50R17 tires. There are no modifications in the interior. Engine is 1.8 turbo.
http://www.uncars.com/carnews/newcars/159947.shtml




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Old 09-21-2008, 07:38 AM   #104
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Default Re: SAIC Roewe 550 (W2)

I think they should export it to at least some countries in the east. I am sure it would sell well.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:28 PM   #105
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Default Re: SAIC Roewe 550 (W2)

The Roewe 550 has been spotted in the UK:







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Old 11-19-2008, 07:13 AM   #106
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Roewe 550 B&Y Style:
http://cn.autoblog.com/2008/11/19/20...ewe-550-sytle/



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Old 12-24-2008, 05:35 PM   #107
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Default Re: SAIC Roewe 550 (W2)

Chery, SAIC cars get five-star ranking in crash tests

2008-12-24


China's domestically made cars are making progress in terms of safety, with the Chery A3 and SAIC Roewe 550 getting five-star rankings in crash tests, said the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) in Tianjin on Wednesday.

Only one star below the top rank, it is the best result ever achieved by domestic-made vehicles. The Hongqi car got such a ranking earlier this year, said the CATARC director Zhao Hang.

The Mercedes-Benz C200 from Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler Automotive Co and Faw-Volkswagen's New Bora also got five stars in the fourth batch of crash tests of seven models.

The center tested 28 models in 2008, bringing the total number of tested domestic models to 65, which came from 90 percent of the domestic auto manufacturers, CATARC official Wu Wei said.

Testing started in 2006.

The proportion of five-star cars rose from 8.3 percent in 2006 to 36 percent in 2007 and 46 percent in 2008, Wu said.

More than 30 percent of all tested models got only two- or three-star results, said Wu.


http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchin...nt_7337997.htm
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Old 03-03-2009, 05:51 AM   #108
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Default Re: SAIC Roewe 550 (W2)

Nice car. It would be good to know whether the board computer language can change to English. Anyone has info about that?
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:30 AM   #109
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Roewe 550 Sport:
http://news.cheshi.com/gcxc/200903/94454.shtml






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Old 03-05-2009, 12:40 PM   #110
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Default Re: SAIC Roewe 550 (W2)

The fact that a Chinese company can design a decent original car makes it even more shameful that the other Chinese companies persist in stealing other automakers' designs. There's no excuses anymore.
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