News / Asia

Automakers Capitalize on Chinese Appetite for Luxury Cars

Automakers Capitalizing on Chinese Appetite for Larger, Luxury Carsi
X
April 25, 2013 11:46 PM
China is cementing its reputation as the most important market for the auto industry. Chinese auto sales are up 13 percent from a year ago -- with sales expected to top 20 million this year. By comparison, total sales in the United States this year are forecast at just a little more than 15 million vehicles. The importance of the Chinese market is reflected in the size and sophistication of the Shanghai auto show, where automakers are capitalizing on China's growing demand for luxury cars and SUV's. Mil Arcega has more.
China is cementing its reputation as the most important market for the auto industry.  Chinese auto sales are up 13 percent from a year ago -- with sales expected to top 20 million this year.  By comparison, total sales in the United States this year are forecast at just a little more than 15 million vehicles.  The importance of the Chinese market is reflected in the size and sophistication of the Shanghai auto show, where automakers are capitalizing on China's growing demand for luxury cars and SUV's.

Bring an auto show to Shanghai, China, and people are sure to come -- tens of thousands of potential car buyers from the world's largest auto market.  

Ford Motors' Dave Schoch is counting on it. "So you've got 30 million customers out there, all with different tastes and different affordability levels.  And what Ford wants to do is bring the power and leverage of our global line-up, you know from small to medium to large, into China," Schoch said.

But the competition is fierce.  

"We are increasing our local content here in this country. And next month we are opening the first engine plant with the capacity of 250,000 units outside of Germany for Mercedes engines," said Daimler AG Chairman, Dieter Zetsche.

The Chinese see cars as a potent symbol of success. Autoforesight analyst Yale Zhang says the rising demand for premium and luxury automobiles reflects China's emergence as an economic superpower.

"This market is becoming more like European or American style entry-level premium like Mercedes C-class or BMW-3 series.  This kind of entry-level premium is growing very fast," Zhang said.

Demand has been especially high for larger, sport utility vehicles (SUV's).  Karsten Engel, who heads BMW's China Group, says the roomy interiors appeal to China's newly rich -- even though some will probably never drive them.

"The ultimate driving machine, you probably experience a lot from the rear seat with your driver, so you need more space, you want more space.  You want to have the possibility to work in the car," Engel said.

That's something luxury automaker Bugatti's marketing director Stefan Brungs understands. "This is what the Chinese have learned and perceived as luxury -- to sit in the back and be chauffeured," Brungs said.

Despite the high demand for larger automobiles, environmental issues and fuel consumption concerns are contributing to the heightened interest in green, fuel efficient vehicles.  

"Four years ago, when we introduced the concept of the electric car, most of our colleagues in the industry thought that we had lost our minds.  Now it doesn't look so stupid, you know?," said Nissan's Asia Vice President Andy Palmer.

But for now, analysts say new hybrid and electric technology is likely to take a back seat in China.  Despite higher government taxes on larger gasoline combustion engines, new data show sales of SUV's are up nearly 50 percent from a year ago and likely to double by 2015.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid