No longer the red-headed stepchild of the auto world, Chinese cars are making their presence felt, creating major headlines at Auto Show Shanghai 2011 and abroad.

Great Wall has become the first Chinese manufacturer to have passed European Union standards and set up shop in Europe. Its Voleex models (above) have even reached the Holy Grail of the British market.

If you’re of a certain age and into cars, you’ve probably heard the one about the Lada. Or possibly the Trabant. The Yugo was a favourite target of the budding comedian. “Yugo, but it doesn’t,” was a popular zinger back in the day.

Chinese cars could have ended up like those Eastern Bloc lemons – not worth the gas filling their tanks. But the latest joke going into Auto Shanghai 2011, the country’s biggest motor show, is the one about Chinese carmakers laughing all the way to the bank.