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Why China is demanding long wheelbase cars

A car in China still is a symbol: If you own one, you made it. And if you made it, you won’t drive by yourself …

BMW 335Li in Beijing

China is the largest market for most carmakers, which is why there’s a trend for long-wheelbase versions of even not-very-long cars at the Beijing motor show.

So BMW is not the only company, unveiling long-wheelbase versions of a car. There’s Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Cadillac, and a few more, stretching their cars, too. There’s a Audi A4L, a Mercedes E-Class L, a BMW 3 Series L, and the new BMW X1 L.

And if you think, it does not make any sense … Well, than you are terribly wrong.

BMW X1 loong wheelbase at the Auto China in Beijing, 2016

See, in China, to be chauffeured is the height of good taste. If you’ve got your own driver, you’ve officially made it. This is Luxury, with Beijing style.

Being driven around isn’t just for old people. The young Chinese millennials want the chauffeur-driven experience too. So a relatively modest BMW X1 or BMW 3 Series which are some 100 or 120 millimeters longer is a logical result of this demand …

Still questions, folks? 😉

Published: 3. May 2016

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About the author

Thomas Gigold has been writing about cars for more than ten years. He loves long road trips, is father of three and lives in Germany. Thomas is the Editor-in-chief at the MOTOR SHOW BLOG. Learn more.

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