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Luxury cars dazzle at Chengdu expo
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2009-09-19 10:50

Luxury cars dazzle at Chengdu expo
Visitors are taking photos of Rolls-Royce, at the 12th Chengdu International Motor Show.[Asiannewsphoto]

Bjoern Hauber was surprised when he saw three Mercedes-Benz sports cars zipping past him enroute his journey to the hotel from Chengdu airport on Thursday.

"It's amazing. It's hard to see similar instances in Beijing or Shanghai," said the general manager of sales and marketing with Mercedes-Benz China Ltd.

Hauber was in the western city to launch four Mercedes models at the 12th Chengdu International Motor Show, China's fourth largest auto exhibition which has attracted more than 200 global and domestic automakers who are displaying over 500 models this year.

According to the show's organizers, the week-long Chengdu automobile show which opened on Friday, will have 13 new model debuts, including the Asian premiere of Mercedes E Coupe sports car.

"We have seen rapid market growth in China's second-tier cities such as Chengdu. In the first eight months, our sales in the city surged more than 60 percent over last year, higher than the national average," said Hauber.

Swedish luxury car brand Volvo said at the show that its sales in Chengdu soared 103 percent year-on-year between January to August, more than twice its growth of 42 percent in the entire Chinese market.

Daniel Kirchert, senior vice-president in charge of marketing with Brilliance BMW told China Daily that the western market has been the German luxury brand's most important market in China.

"Cars sold in Chengdu accounted for one-fourth of our sales in the western market. BMW will introduce more new models for the discerning local consumers and further expand dealerships in the west, and improve customer satisfaction through better services," said Kirchert.

In the recent years, Chengdu's automobile market has maintained a growth rate of more than 20 percent year on year. As of February, the vehicle capacity in the city surpassed 2 million units, vaulting it to the third position behind Beijing and Shanghai.

In the first seven months, newly registered vehicles in China touched 210,000 units.

More impressively, "Chengdu has been a special regional market for vehicles with distinct characteristics," said Wang Xia, deputy director of the auto industry division of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

The developing economy, growing new rich and a leisurely lifestyle have made Chengdu a market for diversified car models, especially luxury sports cars and sports utility vehicles.

During the first half of the year, nearly 7,390 units of SUVs were sold in Chengdu, 155 percent higher than last year, making it the fastest market in the country.

Shi Hong, marketing director of Shanghai GM Buick, said Chengdu has become a market with higher acceptability for sports cars and new designs than in other cities.

On the first day of the Chengdu auto show last year, a Rolls-Royce valued at 9 million yuan was ordered by a private customer.

"We have mentioned that in China, in different cities, customers have different tastes and requirements for cars," said Hauber.

His company is showcasing four cars, three AMG versions and one coupe, all with sports features, at the Chengdu expo.

Xue Xu, a marketing professor and auto analyst with Peking University said the reconstruction boom after the earthquake and the lesser impact of the financial crisis have spurred automobile sales in Chengdu.

Source:China Daily 
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