BEIJING MOTOR SHOW: FIRST INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW AFTER COVID-19 OUTBREAK | AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS
China's auto market has bounced smartly from the COVID-19 crash in recent months, particularly for high-end cars. Still, issues about the durability of that recovery hung over the Beijing auto show that started on Saturday. A rare industry event was held in person during the pandemic. The exhibition marks an achievement for the world's biggest car market, hit from late last year as lockdowns froze economic activity in the country where the disease exploded.
Still, this show will be a far cry from the usual enthusiasm as fewer attend, new models are scant, and views remain dubious.
Among the eminent points: the Chinese market's increases since April, great demand for midsize to large luxury vehicles, and plenty of interest - and investment - in electric cars.
China's auto sales rose 11.6% in August than the previous year, the fifth straight rise after falling during the lockdown. When almost all the inhabitants were told to stay home in February, sales fell to 79%, their most under since 2005.
Guangzhou-based GAC, which has alliances with Toyota Motor and Honda Motor, requires sales to grow for the full year. General Manager Feng Xingya said on the show's sidelines, formally the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition 2020.
Germany's BMW requires "single-digit growth" in China this year, said Jochen Goller, head of BMW China.
"We were massively influenced during quarter one of course," with a 30% on-year sales dip, Goller told a small group of reporters. But the second quarter saw a 17% rebound, and this quarter "is running well."
"You can say confidence is back," Goller said.
China'sAccording to preceding data, the typically busy car-buying season, "Golden September, Silver October," is off to a good start, with passenger car sales up 12% in the first 20 days of September.
The rebound means this year's sales will fall less than 10%, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimates, better than its May forecast of a 15% to 25% decline.
Much of the improvement is driven by sales of larger passenger cars by makers such as Daimler and BMW, boosted by new models, automakers' discounts, and a broader recovery in the world's second-largest economy.
Premium vehicles valued for a record 15% of the Chinese market in August, up from around 10% for all of last year, said the China Passenger Car Association.
EVs are also providing buzz to the Beijing show, as a boom in Tesla shares has driven interest in China. EV startups like Nio, Xpeng, Li Auto, and WM Motor have together raised more than $8 billion this year.
But the current growth shows Chinese carmakers making earlier model launches as they could not wait for the general hype from the delayed Autoshow before going to market. That suggests a more limited upside to the current sales rise.
"This year's auto sales are very different from previous years," said senior LMC Automotive analyst Alan Kang. "Many cars were sold during summer because customers delayed purchases after the lockdown."
Sales of larger sedans and sport-utility vehicles have retreated to last year's levels. Still, competition among mass-market brands is increasing, said Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consultancy AutoForesight.
That's a key battleground for international and domestic brands, including Volkswagen, Toyota, and Geely. Still, he said, "Sales performance in these two months will give us clue of what will happen next."
Here is the list of cars displayed in the Beijing Auto Show:-
Audi A3 L
Audi Q5 L facelift
Audi Q5 L Sportback
BMW 5 Series Li/Le facelift
BMW M3 Sedan and M3 Competition Sedan
BMW M4 Coupé and M4 Competition Coupé
Changan Vision-V concept
Chery Tiggo 3X Plus
Chery Tiggo 8 Plus
Everus EV-1 Sport
Foton Da Jiang Jun 'Big General'
GAC Trumpchi Enpulse
GAC Trumpchi GM8 facelift
Geely Xing Rui
Honda CR-V PHEV
Honda SUV e
Human Horizons HiPhi X
Infiniti QX60 Monograph
Jetour X70 Plus
Leap Motor C01 or C11:
Lynk & Co 06 / 06 PHEV
Lynk & Co Zero concept:
Mercedes-Benz E-Class L facelift
Qoros Milestone concept
Roewe i6 Max
Roewe iMax 8
Songsam Motors SS Dolphin