Driverless, new energy cars lead Beijing auto show
Driverless cars, new energy vehicles and SUVs are standouts at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, which has gathered over 1,600 exhibitors and 1,179 cars to vie for buyers in the world's largest car market.
The vehicle has radars that enable it to perceive the environment in 360 degrees. Chang'an is hoping to put driverless cars onto the market in two to three years -- "at reasonable prices," said Li Yusheng, chief engineer of Chang'an Automobile Engineering Research Institute.
Chang'an is not the only Chinese company to bring driverless cars to the show. Chery Automobile and Baic Motor Corporation as well as Internet company LeTV all unveiled electric cars with self-driving functions.
NEW ENERGY COMPETITION
As the Chinese government showers preferential policies on makers and buyers of new energy vehicles to combat pollution, global and domestic players are battling to dominate the market.
Nearly 150 electric and hybrid cars are being exhibited in Beijing, including models by Dongfeng Motor Corporation, BYD and Tesla.
U.S. pioneer Tesla has built more than 1,500 charging stations in China.
According to statistics released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), China remains the world's fastest-growing new energy vehicle market, with 62,663 produced and 58,125 sold in the country from January to March. Both figures had more than doubled from the same period in 2015.
While global players' entry into the Chinese market has added pressure, local automakers will be hoping that the relatively high cost of foreign new energy cars, and the lack of charging infrastructure in China, will buy them time.
GROWING SUV TREND
Exhibitors are also trying to capitalize on booming Chinese demand for SUVs. Debuting its large CS95, Chang'an has been one of a number of domestic and foreign automakers making a splash with SUVs.
In 2015, the number of such vehicles sold in China rose more than 50 percent year on year to 2.13 million, the CAAM data showed.
SUVs are mainly being bought by younger mainstream buyers, according to Jia Xinguang, managing director of the China Automobile Dealers Association.
"Most of the buyers in China were born in the 1970s and 1980s and they like outdoor activities and fashion," said Jia. "An SUV is tall and stylish and they also have favorable functions."
Though SUV makers are worried about possible tougher policies to curb smog and congestion in Chinese cities, Jia believes there is still strong growth potential in the sector.
The 14th Beijing International Automotive Exhibition is taking place at the China International Exhibition Center. The venue is expected to see 800,000 visits across the 10 days of the show.