Global Update

Top 5 Featured Cars in Chinese Automotive Print Publications

The Subaru WRX is one of the most popular tuning platforms in China. This one belongs to an enthusiast in a Guangzhou car club.

Taking a closer look at recent featured vehicles in top tuning magazines in China is essential in understanding the consumer trends in the specialty-equipment market. Enthusiasts in China refer to car magazines and browsing the Internet as top methods for obtaining information on what they would like their vehicles to resemble.

A review of several top tuning magazines, including Tuning Car, Option & 4WD and Auto Sports, reveals the five modified vehicles currently receiving the largest coverage: Subaru WRX STI, Nissan GTR, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris and Volkswagen GTI.

The Subaru WRX STI certainly takes the lead in media coverage from car magazines reviewed from China. Not only is the Subaru WRX and STI among the popular modified vehicles in China, it is recently the winner from top automotive print publications. In the March issue of Tuning Car Magazine, the editor introduced a fully accessorized Subaru WRX STI.

This vehicle was built by , a tuning shop located in Shanxi Province. The modifications to this vehicle include a clutch kit, an air intake and an exhaust system. The twin-plate clutch was installed first, followed by the intake and exhaust systems and, finally, suspension upgrades. Finishing touches included anti-roll bars and carbon-fiber spoilers.

Three Subarus
Subaru STI EJ255, Subaru STI EJ20 and Subaru STI ET20

Another well-known tuning magazine, Option & 4WD, covered a spotlight tuning comparison among three generations of the Subaru STI in its March issue. The three generations introduced were the Subaru STI EJ255, Subaru STI EJ20 and Subaru STI ET20. The Subaru STI EJ255 introduced was fully equipped with high-end imported tuning parts.

This Subaru STI EJ255 was modified in a unique style; most Chinese enthusiasts focus on exterior restyling of their Subaru STI. This owner, however, only modified his wheels and tires for exterior upgrades. Everything else is highly focused on performance power upgrades. The total value of aftermarket accessories is approximately $28,000 (USD).

The Subaru STI EJ20, on the other hand, did add exterior restyling. It was accessorized with air dams, a body kit and grille inserts. In power upgrades, the engine, turbo, exhaust, ECU and intercoolers were also modified on this car. Most accessories are domestically manufactured brands in China.

The last Subaru ET20 had the most restyling work, with a carbon fiber hood, grill inserts, spoiler, air dams, wheels and tires. In power upgrades, similar to the second Subaru, turbo, ECU, and exhaust systems were added. At the conclusion of the article, the Subaru STI EJ255 was given first place, followed by the Subaru EJ20 and the Subaru ET20.

Although the Subaru ET20 placed last, editors did mention that if they were only comparing exterior restyling, the Subaru ET20 would definitely take the lead.

The Nissan GTR is another popular vehicle. Although you can’t see many Nissan GTR’s on the roads in China yet, this vehicle is referred to by Chinese editors as having huge tuning potential. In the March issue of Tuning Car, a tuning shop in Shenzhen, introduced its Nissan GTR project vehicle in all of its aftermarket parts details along with relevant pictures. The January issue of Option & 4WD had a six-page exclusive article comparing three tuned GTRs in different styles.

The March 2009 issue of Tuning Car also introduced a European vehicle-focused tuning shop in Dongguan called GT Shop. Two VW GTIs were introduced, each of the GTIs with its own unique characteristic (one outputting 260 hp, the other 330 hp). Accessories on these vehicles included dual exhaust systems, coilovers and performance brakes.

The Suzuki Swift also received great media exposure. In the November 2008 issue of Option 4WD, there was an 18-page featured article on the Suzuki Swift. Eight owners of modified Suzuki Swifts were interviewed. Most Swift owners commented that the cars are fast and easy to tune.

Suzuki Swift

Similarly, the March 2009 issue of Tuning Car featured an eight-page exclusive project vehicle unveiling of a fully modified Suzuki Swift, capable of reaching 9,000 rpm. It is the fastest Suzuki Swift in China and was modified by Auto Option Zone in Guangzhou. This Swift is accessorized with shocks, brakes, a clutch and pressure plate, a camshaft, headers, intercoolers, boost controllers, gauges and tires and wheels.

The Toyota Yaris is another popular modified vehicle that’s been receiving great media coverage. In the October 2008 issue of Option & 4WD, the Yaris made it to the cover of the magazine. Inside was a nine-page article on a fully accessorized Yaris. The Yaris also won car trends of the year from Car Magazine China.

Yaris TRD
Toyota Yaris in Option & 4WD

Again in the March 2009 issue of Option & 4WD, the magazine featured a turbocharged Toyota Yaris vehicle accessorized by a tuning shop in Guangdong Foshan. Some of the parts added to the Yaris included a boost power converter, an exhaust system, spark plugs, an air filter, shocks, springs, anti-roll bars, brakes, gauges, and 16-inch wheels and tires.

Magazines reviewed:
Tuning Car Magazine, March, 2009

Option & 4WD, March, 2009
Option & 4WD, January, 2009
Option & 4WD, November, 2008
Option & 4WD, October, 2008

Car Magazine China, January, 2009

Auto Sports, March, 2009

Tuning shops mentioned in articles:

Kings Mart Co.
Tel: 011-86-2084642846
Contact name: Xiolu, Huang

Dyno King
Tel: 011-86-75527021516
Contact name: Thomas Tsui

Man’s Auto Parts
Tel: 011-852-23919331
Contact name: Mr. Wen

Auto Option Zone
Tel: 011-86-2083503240
Contact name: Mr. Chen