Major auto makers underscore opportunities, potential in China ahead of Geneva show

Updated 2017-03-09 16:26:10 Xinhua
A Techrules Ren concept car of Chinese electric-carmaker Techrules is seen on the second press day of the 87th International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

A Techrules Ren concept car of Chinese electric-carmaker Techrules is seen on the second press day of the 87th International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

As the 87th Geneva International Motor Show prepares to kick off, representatives from top global car firms reaffirmed on Wednesday their faith in the Chinese market while also highlighting the growing expertise of Chinese carmakers in the highly lucrative automotive business.

"We still see growing demand and more and more people in China becoming more wealthy and who are willing to spend money on premium cars, and this segment is still growing," BMW spokesperson Kai Lichte told Xinhua ahead of the opening of the show on March 9.

"A little more than one quarter of all sales are in China, it's the biggest market, bigger than the U.S and Germany," he added.

Volkswagen marketing manager Jurgen Stackmann, who reminded that 50 percent of the group's cars are sold in China, also highlighted similar benefits.

"The power of the Chinese people is enormous, there is no other place so vibrant, so full of energy, so full of entrepreneurship globally," he noted.

While the purchasing power of China's market remains enormous, representatives also lauded the growing expertise of Chinese firms in the car making industry.

This valuable partnership was perhaps most tangible with Volvo Cars, almost seven years after Chinese car maker Geely Holdings Group Co. Ltd. completed its 1.8 billion U.S. dollar-buyout of Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo unit, in a landmark foreign acquisition by a Chinese company.

"I think it has been a very successful acquisition. If you look at it for Volvo, I think we would not have been where we are today without the support and the ownership of Geely," Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson explained.

Describing what he called a "win-win" situation, Samuelsson said that while Volvo has gained facilitated access to the Chinese market, Geely has stood to gain on the acquisition of new technologies, enabling the Hangzhou-based multinational company to upgrade its products.

Similarly, co-ventures and partnerships between Volkswagen and Chinese firms are also increasing, with the German automaker setting a series of ambitious targets, amongst which is becoming the leader of the electric car market in coming years.

The firms also lauded their growing presence in China on the manufacturing front, with all three car making giants boasting factories there.

According to Stackmann, this shows that "made in China" is becoming more and more synonymous with quality, since all its cars intended for the Chinese market are produced in Asia's economic powerhouse.

"All of ours cars are fully made and sourced in China, this shows that China has reached a quality of products comparable to Europe," he said, adding that he is "absolutely confident" in the Chinese market which is still posting enormous growth.

This year's Geneva International Motor Show hosts some 180 exhibitors showcasing about 900 models including 148 world or European premieres.

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