What's the Deal With All These Dragon Cars?
By Rory Carroll
Of the 12 symbols that make up the Sheng Xiao, or the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is the most venerated. It is a symbol of luck, magnanimity and about 19 other good things. Many Chinese people go out of their way to have children or start businesses in dragon years. So it is established that dragons carry a positive connotation in China.
With Western automakers clamoring for a piece of the world's largest automotive market, the 2012 Beijing motor show has featured several dragon-themed special-edition cars. Coverage of these dragon models has been heavy, but Western journalists seem to be having trouble making heads or tails of them.
It's hard to look at Jeep's Wrangler Dragon and think that Jeep isn't trying a bit too hard. But the snark that usually would be present in American coverage of such a car has been largely absent. Is it silly for Aston Martin to think that naming a car the “Aston Martin DBS Volante Dragon 88 Limited Edition” is going to earn the company sales in China? It certainly sounds silly.
Rolls-Royce sold out of its $1.2 million “Year of the Dragon”-themed Phantom earlier this year. But then again, none of the Chinese companies seem to have brought cars with dragon tattoos.
So, to our Chinese readers and those who are enlightened Sinophiles, we ask: How will Chinese car buyers view these machines? Will they stand in line to reserve a limited-production dragon mobile, or have Western automakers lost something in translation?
Content provided by Autoweek.
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