With carmakers gloomy and sales plummeting, particularly in Europe,China has emerged as their saviour.
That makes the Shanghai auto show the single most important destination for the world’s manufacturers.
There are 1,300 models on show for the 800,000 visitors that are expected.
Among those looking east is the head of Citroen, Frédéric Banzet. He told euronews: “Shanghai is the motor show for the largest car market on the planet. This is an absolutely essential event. In Europe, the automotive market has declined by 25 percent between 2007 and 2012 and we don’t really see any signs that make us think there’ll be a rebound, so we think that for the full year (2013) the market will decline by about five percent.”
China overtook the US as the world’s largest market in 2009.
Last year just over 19 million vehicles were sold there, 15.5 million of which were passenger cars.
Sales weakened recently with a slowdown in growth for China’s economy, but compared with Europe it is still the wild east.