Chinese state-run carmaker Guangzhou Auto has unveiled a handsome roadster concept at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China this week. The concept car was revealed by Guangzhou and its partner Honda under the duo’s new joint brand, Li Nian, which is expected to launch its first vehicle in 2010.

While most Chinese carmakers have so far concentrated on small, economical cars, a stylish roadster may be enough to get Western markets excited about Chinese built cars, which are improving in quality and design exponentially.

The roadster is the second convertible concept shown by Guangzhou Auto, with the carmaker’s previous concept using a folding hardtop to maintain a coupe-cabrio look, reports Automotive News.

Debuting the roadster concept under the Li Nian brand suggests that if the car were ever to be produced it would be a budget roadster, in a similar vein to the Mazda MX-5. The new brand is designed along the lines of Toyota’s Scion sub-brand and will be testing the waters in emerging markets such as China and India before launching in more established markets. The sub-brand will be characterized as a separate division of Honda, similar to Acura, but at the cheaper end of the automotive spectrum.

While the roadster above is just a concept for the brand, Li Nian’s first production car will be based on a sporty hatchback concept shown earlier and will be based on the same platform used for the current Honda Fit (Jazz).

Guangzhou currently builds Odyssey, Accord and Fit models for the local Chinese market, although a number of Fit cars are exported to Europe, and the quality of the vehicles is said to be comparable with those coming out of Honda’s Japanese plants.


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