Apart from the Super-SUV trend at today's Auto China 2012 opening, the other distinct trend was towards bespoke or limited edition exclusivity in the luxury automobiles on display. China is not yet the world's biggest luxury marketplace, but it soon will be much bigger than anything prior.
China has 125 cities with more than a million people (America has nine) and as the country has become the manufacturing powerhouse of the world, many people have created extraordinary wealth in all of these cities.
Important people with new-found wealth need appropriate wheels and for a man-about-town businessman, Mercedes-Benz has crafted the Mercedes-Benz Viano Vision Diamond - the luxury van as a chauffeured vehicle.
The obligatory high quality paint and gold pin-striping and the words Mercedes-Benz emblazoned in gold mark the Vision Diamond as much more than a delivery van on the outside.
The interior is the most relevant bit though, transforming from a business setting to a comfortable relaxation space and back at the touch of a button.
One of the areas of development on show in Beijing across several manufacturers was the control of sunlight using vario-chromatic technology in the window and roof glass so that its opaqueness varies with the microcurrent applied. The windows of the passenger compartment are all equipped with the Mercedes-Benz version of variable glass (called the Magic Sky Control system), which enables passengers to change the interior lighting conditions.
The system can ensure complete privacy for business discussions as the glass partition between the chauffeur and the passenger compartment can be blacked out too.
The chauffeur’s area is completely black in color and the passenger compartment is entirely in porcelain white, from the carpet and the seats to the safety belts and the ceiling.
The passenger seats come with heating, cooling, and massage features as well as calf benches and footrests.
Between the seats are cup holders and Champagne glass holders for the model’s silver Champagne flutes, which appear at the push of a button. The side paneling has five bottle holders as well. The Champagne bottle retainer is equipped with a cooling system. Eight diamonds embedded in the interior trim refer to the lucky Chinese number eight and underscore the vehicle’s luxurious atmosphere.
The controls for everything in the rear of the vehicle are operated by two iOS devices (iPad 2 or iPhone 4) including the optional Bang & Olufsen “BeoLiving Viano” sound system, interior lighting and the sound system for the model’s 40-inch screen.
The 40-inch screen is located on the partition to the chauffeur's area and is raised and lowered with the partition. An intercom can be used for communication between the driver and passenger.