Mercedes has confirmed that it will be taking the wraps off its latest premium SUV concept, the GLA, at Auto Shanghai, the doors to which officially open on April 21.
Conceived to help owners “escape the everyday” at 4.38 meters long and 1.97 meters wide, the GLA is small enough to negotiate busy city centers but thanks to permanent four-wheel drive should make for a willing leisure-time companion too.
Under the hood is a four-cylinder, 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine capable of pumping out 211bhp via a seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission.
The inside of the cabin benefits from prodigious use of leather and aluminium. Other interesting interior touches include light-emitting air vents that shine blue when the air conditioning is set below 22°C and start to glow a brighter red as the heat is turned up.
The car also boasts externally mounted 3D/HD cameras that give the driver a clear, birds-eye view of everything surrounding the car, but that can also be removed and mounted on a helmet or mountain bike so that families can record their adventures.
The cameras can also be operated to make films or take still photos while the car is in motion and, thanks to an integrated, front-mounted lens, can project those images directly on to a wall or any other vertical surface, essentially turning the car into a mobile drive-in cinema.
“The Concept GLA marks a new approach for us in the compact SUV segment — this is a sporty and more coupé-like evolution of this category of vehicle,” commented Dr Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing.
Auction house Christie’s has annouced plans to hold auctions in China’s largest city, Shanghai, from fall 2013, after having recieved a license to operate independently on the mainland.
“This development makes Christie’s the first international auction house able to directly conduct auctions in China under its own brand,” said Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy. “The art market continues to grow at a tremendous rate due to the burgeoning interest in art particularly in Asia and China.”
Fellow auction house Sotheby’s had gained access to Chinese art lovers by partnering with Beijing GeHua Art Co in September 2012, while Bonhams maintains an office in Beijing and, like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, operates a saleroom in Hong Kong.
Famed French luxury brand Christian Dior is set to re-stage its Spring 2013 haute couture show for buyers and press in Shanghai, China on March 30.
For the first time since Belgian designer Raf Simons took over as creative director, the brand will be returning to mainland China and the country’s couture customers will be hurriedly booking appointments in the days following the show to place their orders.
The move isn’t a particular suprise: back in January Christian Dior CEO Sidney Toledano noted that China was the “big market of tomorrow” as the brand looks to expand its haute couture client base.
From Wednesday onwards, customers at the American designer’s Shanghai bridal store will no longer have to stump up a 3,000 yuan (nearly $500 US) non-refundable deposit to try on wedding gowns.
Earlier this month reports first emerged that Vera Wang’s Chinese store was practicing an unusual (and country-specific) new policy for its bridal customers: a ‘trying fee’, payable in advance, that secured a 90-minute session with the gowns. The 3,000 yuan charge would be deducted from the final cost of the dress, or could be used as store credit on other Vera Wang items, but would otherwise be lost.
After news of the charges hit the media this week, negative press began to build. Wednesday, in an email to the Reuters news agency, a spokesperson for Vera Wang announced the end of the policy:
“Please kindly be informed that Vera Wang has abolished appointment fees at her bridal salons worldwide starting from March 27, 2013”.
The policy was apparently designed to deter counterfeiters from producing copies of the brand’s pieces, which regularly appear on the Taobao site, China’s largest online marketplace.
The ‘trying fee’ is a feature of some Hong Kong-based retailers, but has not been seen in mainland China, and was not applied at any of Vera Wang’s other global locations.
A store policy in the Shanghai bridal boutique of Chinese-American designer Vera Wang, which sees potential clients charged 3,000 yuan ($482) to try on a dress, has prompted accusations of bias.
The amount is payable in advance in order to book a 90-minute appointment at the store. The non-refundable deposit is deducted from the eventual cost of the gown but if a customer chooses not to buy one of the brand’s wedding dresses, then “the fee can be used toward other items in the store.”
There’s some upset that Wang’s Chinese customers are being treated differently to her clients elsewhere around the world. While the practice of ‘trying fees’ has been present in a number of Hong Kong stores, it’s a new trend for a global brand, and the first time that Wang’s bridal customers have been asked to set down deposits before even trying on a piece.
The brand explains the move as an attempt to “protect the copyright of the designer”. The Vera Wang release “also states that customers will be barred from taking photos or filming at the store.”
A $3 tag sale buy has turned into a massive windfall for the lucky bargain hunter: the Chinese bowl sold for $2.23 million at an auction at Sotheby’s on Tuesday.
The small pottery bowl, finely crafted with an ivory glaze, turned out to be a thousand year old “Ding” bowl, dating from the Song dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1279. The only other similar bowl from the period known to exist has been on display at the British Museum for more than 60 years.
After picking it up for a few dollars down the road in 2007, the buyer displayed it the living room. More recently, they became curious about its value and brought it to experts for an appraisal. Sotheby’s had estimated the bowl would sell for between $200,000 and $300,000.
But four bidders battled over the rare find, and it ultimately sold to renowned London art dealer Giuseppe Eshenazi for $2.225 million.
China’s Spring Airlines Co., the nation’s biggest privately-owned carrier, is planning to start selling cars onboard its aircraft, Bloomberg reports.
To complement the other items already on sale, the discount airline is in talks with several automakers about offering their cars at prices starting at $16,000. Flight attendants will be trained to provide information on the vehicles, and special discounts for fliers may apply.
“Car sales are very popular in Shanghai and our passengers can have time during their flight to study details of the models available,” a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.
It is not clear how the car would be delivered to the buyer. It is also not clear what brands and makes will be available and if flight attendants will get commission on the cars that they sell.
Analysts said the decision to launch in-flight car sales may not result in profits for the airline but will more likely serve as an in-flight advertisement for carmakers.
British luxury brand Burberry has released a new video wishing fans Happy New Year in Chinese alongside a line of special red products.
The limited edition line in different shades of red includes the Blaze Bag, one of the highlights of the 2013 Spring summer collection. Other leather goods and scarves also feature.
From Feb. 10, Burberry will also be celebrating Chinese New Year across all digital platforms and on the Chinese social networks Sina Weibo, YouKu and Douban.
The new products are available on Burberry.com, which now has a dedicated ‘Chinese New Year Gifts’ section, and will appear in Burberry stores alongside traditional lucky red envelopes which will be given out to customers.
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