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Carmakers at Guangzhou auto show bullish on 2021 outlook

By LI FUSHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-23 10:47
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Mercedes Benz showcases its new energy vehicle EQC at the 2020 Guangzhou auto show. [Photo by Cao Yingying/China Daily]

Carmakers from around the globe are showcasing their latest models at the Guangzhou auto show, demonstrating their confidence of 2021's growth potential.

A total of 38 vehicles from brands ranging from Toyota to Mercedes-Benz made their global debut on Friday, the opening day of this year's last major event for car aficionados in China.

Chinese and international brands are presenting 980 vehicles at the event's 220,000 square meter pavilions, according to the show's organizing committee.

Changan Auto unveiled its latest SUV called UNI-K, which is expected to hit the market in 2021. It is the second model of the Chinese brand's high-end UNI series vehicles.

Changan said it is one of nine models that will be launched next year.

In the first 10 months of this year, Changan sold 775,000 vehicles, up 22.6 percent year-on-year.

Chinese-Japanese joint venture FAW-Toyota unveiled four models at the auto show with three built based on the new platform, the Toyota New Global Architecture.

Of them is the mid-sized sedan Allion, which made the global debut at the event. FAW-Toyota President Hu Shaohang said it is a strategic model designed with the needs of Chinese customers in mind.

Hu expects the model, together with the Avalon, to open up the mid-and-high-end segment in the Chinese market for the company.

FAW-Toyota sold 635,000 vehicles in the first 10 months of this year, up 6 percent year-on-year. Hu said the company will introduce 12 models by 2022 including both gasoline and electrified ones.

British premium carmaker Jaguar Land Rover made the Asian premiere of its Land Rover Defender offroader and the new Jaguar F-PACE.

It also launched the 2021 Range Rover Sport and unveiled the prices of the Discovery Sport plug-in hybrid, which is the carmaker's first China-made new energy vehicle.

Richard Shore, JLR president of sales, service and marketing in China, said the company's sales in the third quarter went up 14.6 percent from the second quarter this year.

He expects the sales will grow steadily as the economy continues to rebound and supplies of overseas models are restored.

In the past months, the pandemic affected Jaguar Land Rover's overseas plants, so it exported only 3,000 vehicles a month to China. The figure has grown to 5,000 since September, Shore said.

"With the introduction of new models, we believe the momentum in sales will continue throughout the year and 2021," Shore said.

FAW-Volkswagen is presenting around 30 Audi models at the show, of which the Q5L Sportback is making the global debut.

Marco Schubert, president of the joint venture's Audi sales division, said the model is a new benchmark tailor-made for Chinese customers.

In the first 10 months this year, FAW-Volkswagen delivered 580,081 Audi vehicles, up 5.4 percent year-on-year.

China is the largest market for Audi. Its sales in the country accounted for 43.6 percent of global deliveries in the first three quarters this year.

Mercedes-Benz launched 10 models at the auto show and made the global launch of its Mercedes-Maybach S-class sedan on the eve of the event.

Hubertus Troska, Daimler's board member responsible for China, said the country is the largest market for the S-class sedan, accounting for roughly two thirds of its total sales globally.

The carmaker also plans to introduce more EQ series electric vehicles starting from 2021 to meet the demands of Chinese customers for e-mobility. It launched the first model, the EQC SUV, late last year in the country.

Porsche showcased its latest electrified models including the Taycan as well as the limited 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design edition.

Jens Puttfarcken, president and CEO of Porsche China, said the year 2021 marks the 20th year of the German premium brand's entry into China, and China's economic growth has spurred Porsche's popularity in the country.

Since 2015, China has been the world's largest market for Porsche. A total of 71,129 vehicles were delivered in the first 10 months of this year.

Maserati held its own event on the eve of the auto show, where it showcased its latest models including the Levante SUV and the hybrid Ghibli sedan.

It did not offer the sales figure this year but said the sales so far were in line with the plan. Maserati expected its China sales to be better in 2021.

Mirko Bordiga, managing director of Maserati China, told China Daily that the brand is to make the global debut of its second SUV in China in 2021, as a testament to the importance of the country for Maserati.

Maserati has also partnered with Tencent, which has developed an on-board entertainment system. Among other things, Tencent's QQ music is now available in Maserati models sold in China.

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