This is not what Chinese carmaker IAT Automobile intended to happen.
A concept vehicle built by IAT Automobile that's on display at the 2022 Guangzhou Motor Show in China has reportedly caught on fire at the manufacturer's booth. Some footage taken from a distance clearly shows the high flames and heavy smoke as fire crews doused the small vehicle.
A journalist on the scene managed to capture video and some pre-fire photos of the concept that's being described by Chinese news outlet Jiemian as a small personal mobility vehicle. We doubt there's much left of the concept following the fire but, unfortunately, there are not any updated photos at this time. The fire occurred just before the show opened so it appears no one was injured.
IAT Automobile has already released a statement, per Paindaily: "During the construction of our booth at the auto show, the working area accidentally caught fire for unknown reasons. The open flame has now been extinguished and no one was injured. We are actively investigating the cause of the accident, and a formal statement will be given when the cause is found out."
Additional reports coming in claim there are noticeable water stains around the booth and the smell of burning materials still lingers. Reporters attempted to take photos of the toasted concept but were quickly forced to delete them by automaker and show representatives. Remember, it's China and censorship is normal there.
The cause of the fire remains unknown and it's uncertain we'll ever know for sure. Still, it's definitely embarrassing for the automaker and, to an extent, the show's organizers. It's not uncommon for things to go wrong at auto shows, such as when the Infiniti QX Inspiration concept experienced a technical problem on stage at its reveal at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
But imagine the fallout if a production-spec vehicle being unveiled for the first time catches fire on the showroom floor? It'd be a major PR disaster for any automaker no matter what country they're from. Although nothing of the sort happened at, say, for example, the reveal of the new Chevy Blazer EV, General Motors would have had an awful lot of explaining to do in the aftermath.