The eyes of the automotive world fell on China last week when the Beijing Auto Show played host to 1600 exhibitors and dozens of world debuts – from the new Ford Focus concept (above) to some exciting home-grown sports cars.
If you build cars, China is the place to be right now. It is on course to become the world’s second biggest car market and, underlining its importance, some of the world’s biggest manufacturers unveiled major expansion plans.
Even premium manufacturers are sniffing around for future growth prospects, with Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Spyker and Maybach all attending for the first time. Only a few years ago, many would have laughed at the idea.
Ford’s Focus saloon concept was the most significant event; the choice of China as a launch venue shows just how crucial the Blue Oval rates the region, when it could have shown the car at last week’s British Motor Show – in its biggest market – or waited until the Paris Motor Show in September. The concept formed a major part of the biggest stand at the show, Ford also showcasing around 40 models in total across its Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Aston Martin and Mazda families. Most of these brands are not yet sold in China, but that is all about to change.