CHINESE AUTO SHOW: Beijing prepares to host the city's 2014 auto show on Monday 21 April. Image: AFP
BEIJING, China - The Beijing auto show opens to the public on Monday (April 21) and will showcase more than 1100 vehicles, according to organisers.
China, which over the past 35 years has transformed from a nation reliant mostly on bicycles to one where urban roads are clogged with motor vehicles, now sits firmly at the centre of automaker's profit dreams.
The country's vehicles sales surged 13.9% to 21 million vehicles in 2013. Analysts warn that purchases could be dampened by restrictions on car numbers by some cities. Slowing economic growth could pose another obstacle.
Sales of all types of vehicles rose 6.6% year-on-year to 2 million. the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said, slowing from a 17.8% increase the in March before.
Auto analyst Yann Lacroix said: "China represents between 26% and 28% of worldwide demand. It will remain the most promising market for years to come."
Daimler said in March it had signed a deal worth 1 billion euros equivalent to R145 billion with its Chinese partner Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation to expand production at their joint Beijing-based venture.
Hyundai, whose vehicles are a common sight on China's roads, said in March it planned to build a fourth plant in the country.
Manufacturers from Japan are also hoping to expand sales in China, although political tensions between Tokyo and Beijing have cast a shadow over their business.