GM and Geely Will Compete for Limelight at Beijing Auto Show

China's Domestic Competitive Landscape Is Heating Up

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SHANGHAI ( -- The most important event on China's automotive calendar, Auto China 2010, will start this Friday, April 23rd in Beijing. Most automakers, both domestic and global, have already announced what they will put on display to capture a share of the limelight.

But surprisingly, it looks like this year the toughest contest for attention will for the first time be waged between a young domestic car maker and an century-old global giant.

Yang Jian
Yang Jian
The two companies -- Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and General Motors Co. -- will put far more on show than other automakers. Geely will display 39 models while GM will display 28, including more new models than most other automakers.

Geely says it will put 11 all new models on stage at the event. GM, meanwhile, has announced it will show six new models for the first time in front of a Chinese audience, the Chevy Volt MPV5 concept, the Cadillac Converj Concept, the Cadillac XTS concept, the Chevy Aveo RS concept, the two-box Chevy New Sail and the new Chevy Spark.

As part of their marketing blitz for the Beijing show, both companies have already held press conferences.

In early April, Geely held an event in Beijing with several company executives taking turns to explain to reporters the long list of new models and power train technologies their company will display at the show. GM China also convened reporters from across the country this month in Shanghai for a briefing on its ambitious growth plans for China over the medium and long-term.

To be sure, Geely didn't start making cars until the late 1990s. So it goes without saying that it still can't mount serious competition for GM. With most of its products selling for less than RMB 70,000 ($10,248), the company still confines itself to the low end of the domestic market.

But that will soon change. In addition to rolling out more expensive models under its own brand, the private Chinese company wants to launch more Volvo models in China after it completes the purchase of the Swedish brand from Ford Motor Co. in the third quarter of this year.

With a brand that is now a byword for excellence in safety in its stable, Geely should become a rival to reckon with for global players including GM.

The domestic competitive landscape is indeed heating up. Let's see how it develops over the coming year.

Yang Jian is the managing editor of Automotive News China, a publication of Crain Communications.

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