While the global auto industry suffers from cold sales, it is a hot market in China.
Leading auto manufacturers are eager to show new models at the 13th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition as they turn to the world's second largest auto market to ride out the recession and dispel some of the gloom in their home markets.
|A worker takes a close look at a luxury sedan at the biennial Shanghai Auto Show which opens Monday to media and on Wednesday to the public, in Shanghai Sunday April 19, 2009. [Xinhua]
After China launched stimulus measures, China's vehicle sales rose 5 percent in March to a record high of 1.10 million units, beating the United States as the biggest new car market for a third consecutive month.
Total vehicles sales are set to reach 10 million units this year from 9.7 million units estimated for the United States.
The exhibition, also known as Auto Shanghai 2009, begins today for the media at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Pudong New Area and will open to the public from Wednesday. The show will end on April 28.
More than 1,500 auto and parts makers from 25 countries and regions will attend the biennial auto show this year with 13 cars making their global debuts.
|Workers prepares for the biennial Shanghai Auto Show which opens Monday to media and on Wednesday to the public, in Shanghai Sunday April 19, 2009. [Xinhua]
"Many car makers list Auto Shanghai 2009 as one of their most important international A-class auto shows, if they may skip the other shows," said Wang Xia, an official with the organizer. "Despite the global financial crisis, this reflects the confidence toward China's auto industry as well as future market potential."
With the theme of "Art of Innovation," the show will emphasize greener technologies.
General Motors Corp, struggling to avoid bankruptcy in the US, will debut a production version of the Chevrolet Volt, the world's first extended-range electric vehicle.
The plug-in hybrid, which is likely in China in two years, has an onboard gas engine to create more electricity to keep the car moving for a longer period.
Toyota will unveil the Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle advanced concept car, which uses an updated fuel cell that could improve fuel efficiency by 25 percent.
By adopting compressed hydrogen, the driving range of the model is doubled to 830 kilometers.
Volkswagen AG is presenting the Blue-Motion technologies in its Golf and Lavida sedans.
Its Passat TSI Eco Fuel model is powered by both compressed natural gas and a TSI engine.
Apart from overseas car makers eager to make a splash, domestic firms including Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp and Chery Automobile are tapping home advantage to show new models and new energy technologies from hybrid to electric vehicles.
Ferrari will display its 599 GTB Fiorano equipped with a 12-cylinder engine.