The Beijing Motor Show is open to the public in a market that has got car buyers and car makers just as excited as each other. According to one motor industry insider, China offers the greatest opportunity for motor sales since the boom of the post-war period in the United States. And everyone wants a slice.
Not least, the luxury marques in a country which is home to not only the nouveau riche, but the nouveau phenominally-riche.
BMW’s head of global sales, Ian Robertson said: “Clearly it is a very strong market at the moment. It has huge potential into the future and the taste and requirement of our Chinese consumers are very, very important to us.”
Two Rolls Royces were sold in the opening hours of the show for a million euros each and all luxury marques say China’s billionaires are hungry for status symbols. But that is not the only attraction for the manufacturers.
Motor industry analyst Michael Dunne said: “We haven’t even begun to tap into the ultimate demand here in China. Penetration rates, that is what percentage of the population owns a car, in the United States it’s 80 percent plus, here it’s ten percent. So the game has just started and yet we’re already larger than the biggest market in the world.”
As well as the leather and walnut-dashed gas-guzzlers, manufacturers have unveiled no fewer than 65 concept cars and 95 vehicles powered by alternative energy sources.