Shanghai Motor Show Draws Huge Global Interest

      April 22, 2009 08:42

      Automakers from around the world have put their cars on display in Shanghai in efforts to increase their share in the world's largest car market. The 2009 Shanghai Motor Show opened Monday and continues until next Tuesday, with the press invited to opening events on Monday and Tuesday.

      The exhibition space measures 170,000 sq.m, over three times the size of Seoul Motor Show. About 870 cars were on show, approximately 50 of them new models.

      New cars are displayed at Chinese automaker Chery's booth at the Shanghai Motor Show on Tuesday.

      Foreign automakers are concentrating their energy on the Chinese market because China is the only economy that has been growing amid the global recession. Some 1.11 million vehicles were sold there in March, up 5 percent year-on-year, while car sales dwindled by 30 percent in the U.S. and 32 percent in Japan.

      China already outpaced the U.S. in terms of monthly car sales early this year and seems certain to become the world's largest car market this year.

      When asked by a Japanese journalist on Monday why the Mercedes-Benz group is putting the largest-ever number of car models on show in Shanghai show but will not take part in Tokyo Motor Show in October, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said, "You can find the answer to your own question if you look at sales records."

      China is turning into a car export base for automakers from around the world. Honda exports compact cars made in China to Europe, and Nissan and Toyota are expected to follow suit. Two Chinese car makers, Chery and Geely, export cars to Russia and South America.

      The Chinese government will focus on fostering two or three big automakers so they can lead the industry by producing more than 2 million cars a year, heralding massive restructuring of the 50 or so carmakers there over the next couple of years.

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