Pininfarina may be best known for designing Ferraris and Maseratis, but it can't survive on Italian exotics alone. (At least not these days.) Hence the DX7, an SUV designed for Chinese automaker South East Motor and unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show.

The resulting form is actually pretty handsome – far better than we've come to expect, at any rate, from most of the Chinese crossovers we've seen to date. A shapely front end leads to muscular lines and a dynamically sloped roofline, with defined wheel arches, well-balanced proportions and dare we say attractive detailing. Even the interior, from what we can see, looks like an environment in which we'd be glad to immerse ourselves.

Available technical details are few and far between, but we'd be surprised if it had anything other than a four-cylinder engine mated to an automatic transmission and driving all four wheels. The press release below does, however, mention features such as stability control, rollover protection, automatic parking systems, an electric tailgate and a panoramic sunroof.

Of course this isn't the first time Pininfarina has designed for a Chinese automaker. It's been active in the market since the 90s when it set up its first office in Beijing, opening another in Shanghai in 2010 and collaborating with the likes of Chery, BAIC, Brilliance, and others along the way.

The most recent news surrounding the famed Italian design studio links it with Indian automaker Mahindra, which is reportedly preparing a bid to take over Pininfarina – much like Volkswagen subsumed Italdesign-Guigiaro and Ford absorbed Ghia and Vignale long ago. Future ownership prospects aside, Pinfinarina promises this will only be the first in a series of vehicles on which it is collaborating with SEM, and if this design is anything to go on, we look forward to seeing the future fruits of their relationship.
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At Auto Shanghai 2015 the new DX7, the high-class SUV with an Italian touch

- Accolades from the Chinese and international press for the first car designed by Pininfarina for SEM-South East Motor
- Today a crowd of visitors around the car for the opening day

Turin, 22 April 2015 – Accolades from the Chinese and international press, during the two press days of the Auto Shanghai 2015, for the DX7, the new SUV that Pininfarina has designed for its new Chinese client, SEM-South East Motor.

Today, opening day of the Motor Show, a crowd of visitors is gathering on the SEM stand to discover the first Chinese SUV with an Italian touch. Thanks to Pininfarina design, the DX7 had already won, in his first appearance at the Guangzhou Motor Show in 2014 , the prize "The most awaited local brand SUV" attributed by 100 media and more than 50,000 visitors.

"The spirit of SEM – said Pininfarina's CEO Silvio Pietro Angori during the press conference in Shanghai - is something that perfectly matches with Pininfarina's DNA: we have in common a constant striving towards innovation and quality and the aim to create long-term relationships. With 85 years of history, Pininfarina is the key partner for SEM enabling them to create a new strong brand identity through high-value aesthetic projects like the DX7. Working together with the SEM team we created a bold design language, which is central to communicate the uniqueness of a vehicle that stands out from the competition".

"The DX7 – added Angori - expresses all of Pininfarina know how and skills that are perfect for the Chinese market: styling research and development aimed at defining timeless beauty in the best tradition of Italian style. The Italian touch combined with SEM's state-of-the-art technological innovation make the DX7 a project that is elegant, solid and forward-looking. It sets a new benchmark for the SUV segment and we are sure it will be successfully welcomed by the market".

Pininfarina was the first Italian design house to supply styling and engineering services to Chinese car manufacturers, and this was back in 1996. Since then, Pininfarina has extended its range of activities by developing partnerships with manufacturers such as AviChina (Hafei), Chery, Changfeng, Brilliance, BAIC, JAC and others, for which highly successful vehicles have been designed. The constant growth in the Chinese market led Pininfarina to open offices in Beijing back in the Nineties, followed in 2010 by the opening of Pininfarina Automotive Engineering (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., which enables Pininfarina to develop part of its design activities for Chinese OEMs close by and, in some cases, together with them so as to better respond to the growing demands of that market.

Cooperation between Pininfarina and SEM started in 2012. Under the background of international cooperation, South East Motor created the first heavyweight product, South East DX7, whose design is in line with the aesthetic and consumer demand in China. With DX7 as starting point, South East Motor will also carry out the brand differentiation strategy. In the future, South East Motor will work with Pininfarina to conduct more in-depth cooperation, and develop more excellent products for Chinese consumers with joint efforts. At present, Pininfarina and South East Motor are already working on the next generation of new models.

With 20 years of car manufacturing experience and quality management experience of South East Motor, and with the guarantee of the global standard of production of Mitsubishi, the quality of DX7 occupies the commanding position among products of the same level. South East Motor also shows their serious attitude towards quality control in rigorous research and development process. From the three tenors test, impact test, wind tunnel test to thousands of kilometers of real vehicle test, all test results go far beyond the national and industry standards, which all comes from South East Motor's uncompromising insistence on high quality.

Keeping close attention to consumers' driving experience is the extension of "South East High Quality" to human concern. DX7 is equipped with ESC full dimensional stability system and loaded with ROP vehicle rollover prevention system, and the safety standard of the system is in line with the SUV safety standards set by the United States, which guarantees the safety and flexible control even for SUV with high gravitational center. In addition, DX7 is equipped with the unique longitudinal and transverse automatic parking system, and its intelligent electric tail gate, one-click-to-open panoramic sunroof and panoramic image display system also provide consumers with more comfortable and humanized driving experience.

DX7: the design story

The project DX5 is based on a layout where general proportions are well balanced with the required size to a car of this segment. On this basis it was possible to develop a design with a strong character, dynamic lines and enhanced quality feeling.

The side view highlights the presence of the hood and the fluidity of the roof with a dynamic inclination of the windshield and the rear window. Another significant feature is the DLO, which expresses a strong and unique character due to the hexagonal shape bounded by a chromed frame flowing towards the rear window.

Surfaces are very sculptural and muscular with wide convex areas that transmit a high sense of quality and emphasize the sense of strength in the wheelarches. The line starting from the front fender flows gently to the rear and wraps around the car. The one at the bottom of the doors, however, ligthens the side with perfectly controlled light reflections.

The front grille and headlights are connected to emphasize the width of the car. Starting from the Company logo a chromed element visually continues with the strip of DRL setting a V shape graphic element that highlights the dynamic feeling of the car. The strength of the car is also underlined by sculpted shapes of bonnet and bumper.

The lower part of bumpers and side seals are treated with a dark, robust stripe to protect the car around the whole perimeter. The lights are designed as three-dimensional elements. Rear lamps also are three-dimensional and they are embedded in the full volume of the body and integrated in a very wide and functional rear hatch.

Sophisticated, comfortable and functional are the three words that can summarize the the interior design of the DX7. Sophisticated because of the fluid but sharp forms to emphasize the feeling of quality and technology, with careful use of different colors and materials to express a strong sense of quality. Comfortable and functional because of the great attention to details and to the ergonomical positioning of all the functions.

The dashboard is splitted into two major elements with different color and material. The top part shows the typical opulence of that segment and has a three-dimensional aluminum insert that runs through the entire fascia connecting all visuals and functions (cluster, HMI , air vent).

Sophisticated surfaces on the interior accentuate the perception of quality and their softness is balanced by crisp lines that highlight the character and solidity expected from the SUV segment. The HMI area is integrating all the functions, monitors, and vents in a very coherent and completed form. The instrument cluster is highlighted by the three-dimensional "binoculars" that emerges from the aluminum strip to give a sense of sportiness to the driver dedicated area.

The door panels are designed in full consistency with the dashboard. They are also formed by two elements of different color and materials with integrated handles for a perfect protective and ergonomical feeling. Even the seats have been designed with fluid forms to adapt to the body and enhance the comfort of passengers, and their shape and material strongly contribute to the overall feeling of an high-end interior with great personality.

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