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Automotive show and tell in China

Rolls-Royce Bespoked Phantom
Rolls-Royce Bespoked Phantom
Photo by Lintao Zhang

While auto industry news churns out from the floor of the New York International Auto Show, Auto China 2014 the 13th Beijing International Automobile Exhibition for Transportation, Automotive & Auto Parts ( held at China International Exhibition Center is getting world-wide attention. As a growing number of Chinese cities are attempting to limit auto sales to fight traffic congestion and pollution, auto manufactures are devising methods and models to market more cars to a reluctant Chinese market.

Auto manufacturers now realize that cars need to be specifically modified or designed for the needs and desires of particular world markets. Chinese consumers want low emissions, great reliability (don’t we all?), lighter colors, cup holders made to fit iced tea bottles and a large back seat to comfortably accommodate grandparents and children. Chinese-made models often have been found lacking in these areas, causing buyers to turn instead to import offerings from the U.S., Germany, Korea and Japan.

Lincoln is crashing the party with their MKX concept mid-sized crossover, the first Lincoln revealed outside the U.S. Lincoln plans to have 60 dealerships in 50 Chinese cities by the end of 2016. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. unveiled a new Escort compact sedan designed at Ford’s development center in China with features to appeal to local tastes. Over at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) there are introducing three new Jeep models in China as they attempt to boost sales in a country where they lag behind their competitors.

General Motors and local partners are boosting production capacity for GM-brand vehicles in China to 5 million. GM has had success with Cadillac and expects sales to double to 100,000 next year. The General also introduced the Chevrolet Cruze with a smaller engine to meet China’s call for energy efficiency.

Rolls-Royce Bespoke division unveiled its latest customized creation. The British luxury automaker's specialty division is known for building custom versions of the company's already-exclusive products but don’t call it “Pimp My Ride.” Rolls-Royce now has 15 dealerships in China alone, and another eight on the way. Mini introduced the 2015 Paceman to China and VW launched 5 new models in conjunction with its China partner FAW Group Corp. It sounds like the Golf R400 (395 hp) concept will go into production.