In the West, one of the most hyped announcements of Auto China has been the introduction of the world's fastest Ferrari, the 599 GTO. But to get a view of what's really important, perhaps the world should be looking east.
The Ferrari 599GTO is undoubtedly an impressive car. It features a 670hp V12 engine and has a top speed of 208 mph (334 kh/h), meaning that when it debuts at Beijing on April 25, it will be the fastest car the marquee has ever produced. It's so impressive, in fact, that only 599 of them will ever see the light of day.
Compare Ferrari's new creation with the burgeoning Chinese car market and an impressive model starts to look rather small. Total car sales this year are expected to reach 17 million units, topping the US as the world's largest market. 2010's figure will be a 25 percent jump on 2009's total. In March alone, the Chinese auto market jumped 63 percent year on year. In fact, the size of the market may well be the most impressive thing about cars in China.
Auto China 2010 will host 89 world premieres, a number that seriously contends with the massive shows in Detroit and Geneva. Over 990 vehicles will be on display in the Beijing International Exhibition Centre, which boasts 200,000 square meters of floor space for the show.
Geely, the new owner of Swedish brand Volvo, will have the largest domestic display at the show. Thirty-nine models are reported to be on show on the stand, including a new replica of the classic British black cab, the Englon TXN. It is also set to launch the Emgrand EC825, its first high-end sedan with a rumored price tag of between 120,000 and 180,000 yuan (€12,933 and €19,400).
Great Wall, China's largest SUV maker, will also launch new models for the domestic market. The Hover H6 SUV will reportedly feature a 2.4 liter petrol or 3.0 liter diesel engine for the Chinese market. Its little brother; the H5, will also be available in Europe.
Unsurprisingly, some more familiar names will also be on hand, eager to tap such a large market. General Motors, the largest foreign automaker in China, plans to introduce 25 new or updated models to the territory by the end of 2011. It is reportedly planning to launch a new MPV at the show. Competitor Ford will be continuing the global tour of the Ford Focus, as well as debuting the Ford Edge for the Chinese market.
To cater for the increased demand from the last time Auto China was staged in 2008, it is two days longer. The exhibition hall has been recently upgraded, and organizers expect an increase on the 680,000 visitors that passed through the doors in 2008. So while the show may not be the biggest in the world yet, the booming Chinese car market is certainly helping it to get there.
Auto China 2010 is open to the public from April 25 -May 2, 2010. The press days are April 23 - 24.