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Ban on car show girls at Beijing Auto Show gives male attendants center stage

Voluptuous lines, sensual curves and braying crowds of young men eager to make one of the beauties on display their own. But this year, the desire on display is for cold metal and dark glass only.

The glamour girls whose bare flesh once graced the vehicles at the Beijing Auto Show have been banished, so the public can focus solely on the cars on display from more than 2,000 manufacturers across 14 countries.

Following in the footsteps of Auto Shanghai 2015, the organizers of the Beijing International Auto Show banned brands from using female models to promote the cars.

An attendant dusts a Q50 L on display at Infiniti's stand at the Beijing Auto Show. Infiniti is the luxury vehicle division of Japan's Nissan.
Haze Fan | CNBC
An attendant dusts a Q50 L on display at Infiniti's stand at the Beijing Auto Show. Infiniti is the luxury vehicle division of Japan's Nissan.

"After consulting multiple opinions from relevant parties including exhibitors, we decide to cancel the car modeling section in order to create an atmosphere that focuses on car products, technologies and innovations, and to create an orderly, clean and safe exhibition environment," the Beijing Auto Show Committee said in an official statement this month.

As a result, the glamorous "car show girls" have been replaced by male models, fully dressed and equipped with brushes and cloths to burnish the already gleaming cars.

A glance into the booths of of Citroën and Lexus reveals plenty of handsome car attendants, simultaneously wiping and striking a pose. Local auto maker Changan Auto, meanwhile, has gone for foreign men to represent its brand.

In previous years, the provocatively dressed female models often attracted more attention from the public and grabbed more headlines than the vehicles themselves, which led to fierce competition among car manufacturers to have the most scantily-dressed models.

China Daily called the interest "shallow, vulgar, and rather disturbing."

"Pretty women can certainly attract crowds, but they also prevent potential customers from focusing on the vehicles," the state-owned publisher wrote in an editorial defending the ban on female models .

The ones most unhappy with the ban, however, were the unemployed models themselves, who staged a high-profile protest outside last year's Shanghai Auto Show.

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