October 28, 2010

Beijing Auto Show 2010

The largest auto show in the world takes place in the far reaches of Beijing, about 2 hours away from the city center. Nevertheless, throngs of spectators still flocked to see the attractive models on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. After they were done, they turned their attentions towards the cars. Having a vehicle is a status symbol in China, although with 4.5 million cars in Beijing alone, it is not a particularly exclusive one.

I walked around for a couple of hours, paying particular attention to the concept cars and those being unveiled to the public for the first time. The numbers were staggering - 800,000 visitors, 1000 vehicles, and 100 international debuts. Not only were all the foreign brands out in full force, but dozens of Chinese manufacturers were also present. The local automakers are yet to make an impact on the global automotive scene, but they still dominate the low budget segment of the Chinese market.

I was ushered into BMW's VIP suite after I explained to the beautiful hostess who I was. A stone faced guard moved aside on her signal and I strode up the stairs. Several exclusive models were on display. I smiled at them before continuing on to the dining area. I sipped a coffee, watching the crowds milling about below. I then enjoyed a sumptuous lunch along with other members of the glitterati who had been granted entrance to the VIP area. After the meal, I rejoined the masses to hurriedly visit the booths of the remaining vendors. It was the last day of the motor show and the workers started to drive the cars out of the exhibition hall well before closing time.


"A car for every purse and purpose." ~ Alfred P. Sloan