The importance of China to the global automobile market has never been so clear: In the first quarter of this year passenger vehicle sales in China rose 10.1 per cent to 4.9m units, including a monthly record of 1.85m units in January, a figure that exceeded the 1.8m passenger vehicles sold over the whole of last year in India, Asia’s third-largest economy.

Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, one of the largest international automotive events is taking place this week. More than a thousand vehicles are being showcased at the ten-day-long “Auto China 2014”.

Read a full recap of the show from CCTV here.

A few highlights thoughts from the show:

  • A huge leap from homegrown brands to foreign leaders can be seen in the everyday auto owner: At the end of last year, Chinese-brand passenger sedans commanded 27.5 per cent of the market, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, with German sedans in second taking 24.3 per cent. Just three months later, German sedans lead with 27.1 per cent compared with 23.7 per cent for their Chinese rivals.
  • Tesla, who has only recently established a presence in China and is not participating in the Beijing auto show, is gaining attention for the first sale of it’s car in China. Chief executive Elon Musk was in town to hand over the keys to the first local buyer of his company’s premium electric cars. In China, the government has made a concerted effort to promote electric cars. However, the lack of supporting infrastructure continues to confound Beijing’s ambitions for the sector.
  • Many brands went all-out to attract media attention. Infiniti invited Hong Kong pop star GEM to promote their cars, while Hyundai snagged South Korean actor Kim Soo Hyun, who has hoards of fans in China.

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