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Beijing auto show opens amid market slowdown
Automakers look to Beijing show to boost sales in slowing, crowded market
Associated Press
2014-04-20 09:01 AM

BEIJING (AP) -- Global and Chinese automakers are looking to the Beijing auto show to help boost sales in a slowing, intensely competitive market.

Brands from General Motors Co. to Chinese SUV maker Great Wall Motors are unveiling new and restyled sedans, sport utility vehicles and other models at Auto China 2014 this week.

China is the world's biggest auto market, with 17.9 million vehicles sold last year. But sales growth is forecast to slow from last year's 15.7 percent to 8 to 10 percent this year. And competition is intense, with global automakers jostling with 25 local brands for sales.

Ambitious domestic brands such as Chery Ltd. are losing ground to foreign rivals. Sales by Chinese independent brands shrank 2.6 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter while the overall market grew 7.9 percent and their market share shrank.

GM plans to unveil a new Chevrolet Cruze compact and to display an updated Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Trax SUV. Nissan Motor Co., looking to China to help drive its global turnaround, will debut a concept sedan.

Chinese automakers plan to use the show to highlight improvements in design and technology to lure buyers.

Great Wall plans to unveil a new SUV. Geely Holding Group, owner of Sweden's Volvo Cars, is launching a new branding campaign. BYD Ltd., the country's leading maker of electric cars, is to unveil a compact sedan and a plug-in hybrid SUV.

Adding to an already crowded market, Ford Motor Co. on Thursday launched its luxury Lincoln brand in China.

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