Shanghai auto fair says goodbye to sexy models
Activities with ‘ low taste’ are prohibited, organizers say
Attractive young women will no longer adorn cars at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in April, organizers said on Tuesday.
“Companies should focus on product quality and technology,” said an announcement from the organizers. “Auto shows are supposed to give audiences an enjoyment of art. We hope exhibitors promote their products in a healthy and classy way. Activities with low taste and those that violate social morality are prohibited.”
Organizers said the decision was made after seeking opinions from exhibitors.
Begun in 1985, the Shanghai auto show is China’s oldest international automobile exhibition.
News in January that the event was considering ending the presence of all models triggered public outcry.
Many automakers parade revealing models at auto shows as they vie for the attention of consumers, especially younger ones. Sensational coverage of scantily dressed model, including Gan Lulu and Li Yingzhi, have stirred controversy in the past few years. In 2012, Beijing’s Capital Ethics Development Office said on its website that the revealing clothing of some models at the 2012 Beijing auto show has had a “negative social impact.”
“Auto shows in other cities should also stop using models. It’s also better to cancel the performances of celebrities,” Yang Xueliang, head of the public relations department of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, one of China’s major automobile manufacturers, posted on his weibo after learning of the decision.
“Give a pure automobile show back to customers,” he wrote.
Although market industry sources say other car and trade shows in China may follow Shanghai’s lead, an auto fair scheduled for March in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, is still insisting on opening with models.
Shows in other cities, including Shenyang in Liaoning province, have launched regulations to avoid scantily clad models, instead of stopping them altogether.
“The models who wear revealing costumes make up only a small proportion of all models,” said Dang Jiani, 25, a veteran model from Beijing. “The models don’t decide which costumes they’re going to wear for the shows. If automakers provide dresses that are too scanty, we make minor changes to make them not so exposing.”
She said world-class automakers design high-end costumes in good taste to match the vehicles’ design concepts.
“Models wearing inappropriate dresses would ruin the product’s image. Automakers wouldn’t want to see that,” said Dang. “Models have become an integral part of auto fairs in recent years. They are a part of the automobile culture.”
He Na contributed for this story.