The 20th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in Shanghai on April 18, 2023 attracted many foreign brands looking to catch up with Chinese competitors in the crucial electric vehicle market. The show will conclude on April 27.
This was the first auto show after pandemic restrictions with several new models from domestic and western brands being exhibited at the show.
EVs contribute to a quarter of car sales in China, which is the world’s largest car market. As per data, domestic brands rule 81 percent of the EV market in China, giving a tough competition to other titans in the EV market.
BMW Executive Frank Weber said on the platform, “China is the place to be. Munich is where we come from, but China is where we are at home.” He informed that almost 70 percent of BMW’s newest operating system involves functions specific to the Chinese market. Due to the strong market in China, the company has tripled its research and development there in the past three years, BMW pointed out.
German carmaker Volkswagen also revealed its plans to invest one billion euros ($1.1 billion) in a new development centre for electric vehicles in southern China as part of its “in China, for China” strategy. As per its statement, the firm would present 20 electrified models at the show, with the Volkswagen ID.7 and new Cayenne Porsche getting their world premieres.
“With its high level of innovation, China is an important pacesetter for the entire automotive industry,” noted the statement. “A strong position in China strengthens our global competitiveness,” he added.
Another auto giant, Mercedes-Benz announced that it has fully electrified two classic models, the off-road G-class and its Maybach SUV. Toyota, which is trying to catch up with the EV leaders in the EV market and has been has been slow to roll out electric vehicles, used the Shanghai show to unveil two new EVs under its mainstream brand.
It also introduced a Lexus-brand minivan, the “Luxury Mover,” a hybrid designed to be chauffeur driven,which is preferred by many Chinese luxury car buyers. It will be sold in Europe and China. Meanwhile Tesla, the biggest seller of electric cars globally, did not attend the show.It may be recalled that recently it announced the opening of megapack battery factory in China.
The local manufacturers like China’s BYD unveiled a series of new electric models that included a supercar from its high-end Yangwang brand. BYD is reported to give a tough competition to many EV giants, intends to develop further in Europe and North America.It is reported to have set its 2023 sales target at three million units. BYD’s Vice President said the company planned to export 300,000 EVs this year, compared to 50,000 the year before. Currently, it already has a foothold in the European market and has plans to start with a presence in Norway and later expanding into other European countries.
Other Chinese brands are also looking to expand into the West. Zeekr, a premium electric brand owned by Geely, also confirmed that it would enter the European market.