BMW, Ford and Volkswagen have joined General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and other leading Western brands in unveiling concept vehicles for the Chinese market at the Auto China 2010 motor show in Beijing.

Following in the footsteps of German competitor Mercedes-Benz, BMW showed its own four-door coupe, the BMW Concept Gran Coupé. The concept, intended to combine the "exclusivity of a Gran Turismo with the fascination of a high-performance sports car," sits some ten centimeters lower than the BMW 5 Series or 7 Series sedan, with a sleek roof that tails off towards the rear.

Shown in a black finish, the model uses all-LED lighting (much like Mercedes' Shooting Break concept) and uses frameless doors to give the appearance of a seamless, column-less glass surface.

Ford has taken a different approach to its concept, showcasing a sporty, small car geared to the needs of China's inner city population. Featuring a 1.0 litre engine, the Ford Start emits less than 100g/km and is constructed from lightweight composites.

Alongside LED lights, the Start features a "Human Machine Interface," which brings the car's six-inch information screen to life when a compatible smart phone is attached. With this, the screen displays car functions such as air conditioning, engine diagnostics and airbag status, but when a mobile phone is connected, drivers can access services online such as navigation and communication features.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, is presenting the E-Lavida concept, an electric version of its Chinese-market Lavida sedan which is based on the global Golf. The E-Lavida is Volkswagen's first car to be totally designed and produced in China and could be in production by 2013.

Auto China 2010 is open to the public through May 2.

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