Automakers rev up for show

08:37, April 23, 2010      

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A car undergoes clearance procedures at Beijing Customs on Thursday before Auto China 2010. Tang Yanzhi / For China Daily

Robust China market attracts global giants

Major global automakers plan to unveil dozens of new models at the Beijing auto show this weekend as foreign producers look to the surging China market to drive sales and local brands try to raise their profile following Geely's purchase of Volvo.

The biennial exhibition, which has quickly become one of the biggest and most important auto shows in the world, raises its curtains on Friday and will last till May 2, during which 990 models - with 89 making their global debut - will be displayed in a 200,000-sq-m area.

"No automaker will ignore Beijing auto show" as all the players want a share of the world's biggest auto market, said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of General Motors China Group. "We all see China as a major source of growth."

The US company, after a major restructuring at home last year, nearly doubled its sales in China in 2009. First quarter sales this year hit 620,000 units, roughly the same as the number for the whole of 2005. Its sales in China surpassed those in the US in March, as they did in the two previous months.

Wale noted that GM is on track to achieve sales of more than 2 million units in China this year, and hopes to hit 3 million units in 2015.

Ulrich Walker, chairman & CEO of Daimler Northeast Asia, said: "We know that our global success is built on deep understanding of local demand, and thus, we believe that constantly adapting to and advancing with the China market, the culture, and the expectations of customers are vital to achieving success."

Klaus Maier, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz China, said the company will continue to expand its entire product portfolio in the China market and "allow for an even more extensive selection when it comes to innovative luxury".

The German luxury brand sold 23,610 vehicles in the first quarter of 2010, marking a growth of 112 percent year on year.

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