Beijing auto show crowds check out electric vehicles, luxury cars

Sept. 28 (UPI) — Crowds flocked Monday to the 2020 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, the only major international car show held this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, with potential buyers gawking at new luxury cars and electric vehicles.

Organizers postponed the show in April when the COVID-19 pandemic dampened Chinese car sales, which dropped by 79% during the February lockdown, Automotive News reported.

“The timing of the Beijing auto show could not have been any better,” said Chen Jinzhu, chief executive of Shanghai Mingliang Auto Service, told South China Morning Post. “The grand show may help the market regain its momentum after months of disappointing sales.”

More than 90 exhibitors, including established companies such as Audi, Daimler, General Motors and Volkswagen, showcased newest models and features on luxury brands such as BMW and Audi.

But the show also included new Chinese vehicle startups such as electric vehicle companies Li Auto, NIO, WM Motor and Xpeng, creator of Kiwigogo, a Chinese-made electric flying car.

Auto sales in China are rebounding after the pandemic, increasing by almost 9% in August to 1.73 million units, China Daily reported.

For luxury autos, such as NIO, a Chinese competitor to Tesla, demand has been strong.

“Life continues without any big impact from the pandemic,” William Li, NIO’s founder and chief executive told the New York Times.

But Chinese mid-size and compact car sales purchased by middle-class customers have also finally caught up, industry experts said.

“The cheaper vehicles are coming back,” Yale Zhang, the managing director of Shanghai-based Automotive Foresight told the New York Times.

The biennial in-person show is being conducted under Beijng’s local health protocols, and is likely to attract fewer than the 820,000 attendees in previous years. The 10-day show ends Oct. 5.

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