Busan Auto Show Pales Beside Thriving Beijing Exhibition

      April 28, 2010 09:21

      The Busan International Motor Show opens on Thursday but it looks like it will be reduced to a mostly local event. Only two foreign carmakers will participate in the show and only one car is to be unveiled for the first time in the world there. It also appears to fail to serve the basic purpose of an auto show as a place where industry insiders can catch up on new trends and share information.

      Its lack of appeal is all the more conspicuous since it opens only a week after the 2010 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, which began on Friday.

      "The Busan motor show is only as big as one of 670 provincial auto shows in China," said a Korean car importer at the Beijing show on Sunday. "It does not make a sense to compare the two shows in the first place. It was a mistake from the beginning to hold the Busan exhibition within a week of the Beijing show."

      Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche presents the German carmaker's strategic model for this year at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on Saturday. /Reuters-Newsis

      The Beijing motor show is the world's largest in terms of both the size of the venue and the number of models displayed. Local automakers debuted 75 new models and global firms 14. The scale of the show befits the size of the Chinese auto market, which is expected to grow to about 15 million units this year.

      The Busan International Motor Show opens only one week after the Beijing show and runs for 11 days at BEXCO exhibition center in Busan. But there is so little international participation that using the term seems to be an exaggeration. As there will be only one new model unveiled at the show, it will be little more than an exhibition of existing cars.

      The Busan show will be attended by 12 local automakers, two foreign carmakers -- Japan's Subaru and Lotus of the U.K. -- 137 local auto part suppliers, and 154 auto part makers from six countries including India, Germany and the U.S.

      BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer showcases this year's strategic model at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on Saturday. /Reuters-Yonhap

      In terms of new models, a main draw of most motor shows, it will showcase only the Hyundai Avante MD compact sedan, which will hit the market in August. The Kia K5 mid-size sedan will make its Asia debut but it was already unveiled at the New York International Auto Show earlier this month.

      GM Daewoo will display its Vs300 semi-large sedan and the Orlando minivan, which will be released in the second half of this year and next year respectively. But the former cannot be regarded a new model as it is merely a face-lifted version of the Buick LaCrosse luxury sport sedan already available in China. The Orlando has appeared at several overseas motor shows.

      Renault Samsung will unveil an upgraded SM3 with a 2.0-liter engine, and Ssangyong will showcase a C200 crossover that is little different from one exhibited at last year's Seoul Motor Show.

      As for foreign automakers, Subaru will exhibit its Legacy sedan, Outback crossover, and Forester SUV. But none of them are new and they will apparently be displayed for promotional purposes ahead of their scheduled sales debuts next month.

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