Yesterday, while most of Britain was still tucked up in bed, I was on the second floor of a self-styled ‘Seven Star’ hotel, on the edge of the Beijing Olympic site.
With one eye, I was looking out at the smog, which was doing a good job disguising the near-by ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium and Olympic pool. And watching the Chinese families streaming around, flying kites and generally having a day off.
With the other eye I was watching a serious presentation from each of Volkswagen’s road car brands. The VW brand has been established in China for a long time. Ancient Passats and Jettas are - in much modified form - still on sale in the country. By contrast, Seat has just arrived in China, with the first example - a Leon - sold a couple of weeks ago in the mega city of Shenzen.
Some 36 per cent of all VW’s global sales are in China. Indeed, the VW Group is the biggest player in the still-booming Chinese market, with a market share of 18 per cent, well ahead of second-placed GM on 10.5 per cent.