The Chinese have a new love: camping. And in many cases they want to make their outdoor experiences as comfortable and premium as possible, elevating to the level of “glamping,” or glamorous camping.
Several automakers at the Shanghai auto show dedicated large swaths of space to equipment aimed at satisfying this growing passion -- which has been a post-pandemic global hit because it's an activity that can be enjoyed while socially distancing.
Another benefit is that provides the visuals that social media evangelists crave.
However, one brand with a long history of providing vehicles designed for outdoor adventures was absent from the show: Jeep.
Jeep, one of the first Western entrants into China in the 1980s, last year ended its stormy joint venture with Chinese automaker GAC that had been producing the American brand's SUVs.
Jeep's dwindling presence in China has left the door open for Chinese brands to define themselves as automotive champions of the outdoors.
The EV maker Nio recently started to offer trailer hitches for its cars. The move came after the Chinese government lifted a ban that prevented people from using their vehicles for towing.