Industry gearing up for Guangzhou showUpdated: 2012-11-19 08:07
Auto industry insiders will turn their eyes to the Guangzhou motor show this week to see whether the biggest auto event in South China can bring a boost to the stagnant market.
Statistics from the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers show that to date the overall market has grown just 3 percent over 2011, the lowest in recent memory.
According to the organizing committee, the Guangzhou auto show that opens on Nov 22 will display a total of 950 models, 50 more than last year. Thirty-four are making global premieres and 23 making Asian debuts, both new records in the show's 10-year history.
A number of iconic international names including Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Ford and Hyundai will bring their lineups as they strive to continue their success in China amid a tough global auto market.
Automaker GAC Group, headquartered in host city Guangzhou, will join domestic peers FAW, Dongfeng, SAIC, Chery, Geely and BYD at the event.
Highlights are expected to be the Volvo Cross Country and Jaguar F-Type unveiled at the recent Paris auto show, as well as the Citroen C4L, the new Bora from Volkswagen and the latest version of the Santana from Shanghai Volkswagen.
As well, names familiar to F1 fans - McLaren, now a partner of Mercedes-Benz, and Italian sports car Fornasari - will have their China debuts at the Guangzhou auto show.
Although Japanese brands have suffered from a dwindling market share since September - with sales down 33.7 percent in October and declining 55.2 percent from the same month last year - they have not cut their budgets for the Guangzhou show. The southern market has long been the stronghold for Japanese brands and home to their sprawling manufacturing facilities.
According to show organizers, the scale of Japanese displays is on par with last year, with Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki all bringing rich portfolios.
Reports said Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus will display 46 models - including concept cars, domestically built models and imports - in a 4,500 sq m exhibition area, Toyota's biggest in the history of the Guangzhou show.
The Toyota Venza, a medium-sized MPV set to be introduced to China next year, and the Lexus hybrid 600hL will have their China premieres. The Lexus LFA super-car will also make its debut in China.
Toyota China said even the sharp sales decline will not change its Chinese strategy. The automaker vowed to offer more choices for Chinese customers in the future.
Honda's Concept C, a medium-sized model developed for Chinese customers, will make its first appearance before entering the showrooms next year. The car will be produced at Honda's joint venture with GAC.
Honda will also launch the new Spirior made at its joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corp.
The price of the hybrid car Insight from Dongfeng Honda will be unveiled at the show.
And the RLXConcept, the new flagship model for Honda's luxury brand Acura, will have its Asian debut in Guangzhou.
Dongfeng Nissan will display the all-new imported sports car 370Z and an electric car that will hit the market in 2013.
Nissan's luxury brand Infinit will display the all-new seven-seat crossover SUV JX.
Mazda's sales in the first 10 months dropped 9 percent while October plummeted 45 percent year-on-year, will bring its largest SUV, the CX-9 and the TAKERI concept model for the all-new Mazda 6 that had its world premiere at the Moscow auto show late August.
Both models will hit the Chinese market next year.
The Guangzhou show will last to Dec 2, three days longer than last year.