This is the Beijing Auto T8, the only one in the world, seen on a factory parking low, with plants growing up over the wheels.
The T8 was a concept car for a new flagship model for the Beijing Auto brand. Sadly, it was never shown in public and it never made it to the market.
The Beijing Auto T8 was based on the Chrysler 300C. The first generation 300C was made in China from 2006 until 2009 by the Beijing Benz-DaimlerChrysler (BBDC) joint venture.
At the time, this company also manufactured the Chrysler Sebring, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Mitsubishi Outlander and Pajero Sport.
The China-made 300C was available with the 2.7 liter V6, 3.5 liter V6, and the big ‘n bad 5.7 liter V8. Price in 2006 ranged 339.000 yuan to 509.000 yuan. Expensive but they sold well, and even today there are still quite a lot on the road.
When Chrysler went bankrupt in 2009 it pulled out of the joint venture but the production lines and tooling stayed in China.
Beijing Auto then decided to try to continue production of its own versions of the Sebring and 300C. This kind of ‘continuation’ was, and still is, very common in China.
When a certain model of a joint venture is cancelled the Chinese partner often continues to build a variant under its own name, mostly with permission of the foreign partner.
Beijing Auto made two prototypes in 2009-2010: the BC701B based on the Chrysler Sebring and the T8 based in the 300C. The T8 got a new Cadillac-style nose and a new rear end. Otherwise Beijing Auto didn’t change very much.Beijing Auto applied for patent of the design in China, and that patent was apparently granted.
However, the rest of the legal outlook was very murky. Beijing Auto did not have the right to use the platforms or engines and Chrysler was in turmoil.
Beijing Auto hedged its bets and started negotiations with General Motors, resulting in the 2009 sale of the Saab 9-3 and Saab 9-5 platforms and engines to the Chinese.
The legal right to those platforms was undisputed and Beijing Auto decided to build their then-future flagship on the 9-5 platform, and a smaller sedan on the 9-3 platform.
That meant the end of the 8C project. It could have been a great Chinese-American limousine, but it just didn’t happen.
The BC701B survived a bit longer, it was turned into a EV concept car and then into a small-series EV demonstration project. More on that in a later post. The Saab-based Beijing Auto’s are still on the market today.
The interior of the Beijing Auto 8C. Beijing Auto only changed the steering wheel. Interestingly, there is a large photo on the floor showing the original 300C interior.
Rear lights look mad. On the right side an early Saab 9-5-based Beijing Auto branded prototype.
New lights for a Chinese-American limousine.
Plants love those shiny wheels.