The 2006 Beijing automotive exhibition opening at the weekend
has seen an unprecedented presence of China's home-grown brands, a
reflection of their growing strength in one of the world's fastest
expanding auto markets.
According to the organizers, Chinese brands are accounting for
one thirds of the 572 vehicles on show at the China International
Exhibition Center and the National Agricultural Exhibition
This is an unprecedented share in the history of the event,
which has been held every two years since 1990.
FAW, which produced China's first truck and car in the 1950s,
brought 29 vehicles, including 19 using brands of its joint venture
partners such as Volkswagen and Toyota, and 10 using its own
The most eye-catching of them is a new Red Flag (Hongqi) model
dubbed HQ3. Using a 4.3 litter engine, it takes only 7.3 seconds
for HQ3 to accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour.
The car is also equipped with a sophisticated infrared night
vision system that could detect obstacles from 250 meters away.
Dongfeng Motor, another major Chinese carmaker, came with 15
models. Half of these models are using Dongfeng's own brands. They
include a full range of cars, multi-purpose vehicles, small utility
vehicles, race cars and hybrid sedans.
Geely, a minor Chinese carmaker which recently entered into
agreement with the Manganese Bronze Holdings Plc of the United
Kingdom to produce London's iconic black cabs in China, is
displaying over a dozen new models.
Also on show is Geely's first concept car, and another from its
subsidy, the Shanghai Maple Automobile.
Other Chinese carmakers, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp,
Great Wall, Chery and others all brought their Chinese brand
Chinese brands currently account for about one quarter of
China's auto sales. While consolidating their shares in low-end
products, they are moving into more lucrative markets now dominated
by foreign carmakers.
After years of dynamic growth, China now is the world's second
largest auto market after the United States.
Both its production and sales of automobiles are expected to
surpass seven million this year, according to the latest estimate
of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2006)