A more refined Shanghai Auto Show kicked off this week without a single model in attendance. Instead companies relied on hundreds of attractive and young “sales representatives”, “shopping guides”, “stand-attendants”, “Miss Etiquettes” and “car cleaners” to help sell their vehicles.
This radical change results from an announcement made in February by the Organizing Committee of Auto Shanghai 2015 that banned the scantily dressed models who have become ubiquitous and infamous in Chinese auto shows. Organizers said they wanted to make the automobiles the stars of the show again rather than women sashaying through the crowds in revealing outfits, provocatively grinding on the cars or having their breasts painted.
Because of this restriction the demand from automobile companies for skilled workers such as: car cleaners, foreign expert candy distributors, police officers and Transformers technicians, has obviously been very high.
Reuters visited the auto show and talked to a few of these definitely-not-models:
“I’m not called a ‘model’ here because they banned models this year,” said Dai Jun, 25, a part-time model working for a luxury European carmaker at the show. Dressed in a smart suit, Dai was standing next to one of the automaker’s new car models.
Others now work as “high-end sales consultants” or “tour guides” and are armed with brand information, giveaways and longer skirts. Many stood next to cars and posed for photos despite talk ahead of the show that this would not be allowed.
“I heard they banned models but I think it’s just a technicality,” said Kate, 20, an Estonian model working for a car company at the show. She declined to give her surname.
Some more technicalities on display:
While unfortunately Gan Lulu hasn’t been in attendance, the event has not lacked in star power thanks to appearances from French automobile expert Sophie Marceau.
We’ll see what the effect of this seismic shift is on the rest of the automobile show industry in China and we’ll just assume that if there is any cleavage on display that distracts from the vehicles, it’ll just be edited out later.
According to Forbes, the Chinese automobile market is still the largest and most important in the world, with vehicle sales in China totaling 23.5 million units in 2014, almost a third more than in the United States; but the China auto market is facing its second year of weaker growth. Last year, growth halved to 7 percent and is falling again this year. Will less stripping near cars help to reverse this trend?
by Alex Linder
[Images via China News, eclicks.cn, guancha.cn, Weibo]