BEIJING -- A few months ago, industry analysts speculated that China's fast-growing luxury market soon would stagnate as the economy cooled and as Communist Party leaders discouraged conspicuous consumption. Never mind. So far this year, luxury car sales have been robust. And judging by the cavalcade of models scheduled to debut on April 20 at the Beijing auto show, the world's luxury brands remain exuberant.
TOKYO -- Lexus plans to unveil the production version of its NX compact crossover at this month's Beijing auto show with three powertrains, including a turbo and hybrid for the United States. Photos of the NX show a production version that cleaves closely to the aggressively creased concept car displayed at last year's Frankfurt show, but with softer treatment of the jagged edges.
Honda Motor Co. plans world premieres at the Beijing auto show for two concept cars designed specifically for the China market. The Japanese automaker released a drawing of the first, a sedan with coupelike styling, but offered no additional details.
Bentley is using the upcoming Beijing auto show to reveal the Bentley Hybrid Concept. The car will preview the company's first plug-in hybrid, with the powertrain expected in a Bentley SUV debuting in 2017. The technology will be demonstrated in Beijing on the flagship Bentley Mulsanne.
Chongqing Lifan Industry Group Co. plans to unveil two new models, a compact SUV and a mid-sized sedan, at the Beijing auto show this month. The LX50 is Lifan's second compact SUV. The vehicle, which is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline engine, is designed for urban consumers, according to Lifan. Lifan also will introduce the 820 mid-sized sedan, which will be equipped with a 1.8-liter or 2.4-liter engine.
Great Wall Motor Co., China's largest SUV maker, will restart sales of its most expensive SUV model, the Haval-badged H8 SUV, at the Beijing auto show this month. In January, the automaker delayed the launch of the Haval H8 after reviewers complained about brake problems, low steering resistance and excessive noise during prelaunch test drives. Great Wall says it has fixed those problems and will start taking orders for the H8 at the Beijing auto show.
Sales of passenger vehicles in China gained 8 percent last month as consumers purchased cars on concerns that more cities may start limiting new license plates. Wholesale deliveries of cars, MPVs and SUVs climbed to 1.7 million units in March, the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday.
Sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids in China jumped 120 percent year-on-year in the first quarter to 6,853 units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported. Automakers sold 4,095 electric vehicles and 2,758 plug-in hybrids, according to the industry group.
China's annual light-vehicle sales currently are growing 10 to 15 percent a year, down from above 30 percent in 2009 and 2010. Yet SUV sales continue to soar more than 40 percent each year. Automakers want to make hay while the sun still shines. When the Beijing auto show opens on April 20, visitors will see an array of compact SUVs. Pictured: Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
Ford Motor Co.'s China sales in March rose 28 percent year-on-year to 103,815 units on strong demand for passenger cars and compact SUVs. Changan Ford Automobile, the automaker's passenger vehicle joint venture, reported a sales increase of 30 percent for the month, while Ford's commercial vehicle joint venture, Jiangling Motors Co., said deliveries rose 11 percent.