In the age of corona and e-mobility

The first major international auto show since the beginning of the Corona crisis starts in Beijing today. Many German car manufacturers are on site – for them the Chinese market is more important than ever.

BMW is also showing its luxurious i4 electric concept car in Beijing.

UThe international auto show in Beijing opened on Saturday following strict security precautions due to the corona pandemic. Manufacturers from all over the world are placing their hopes in the Chinese market – the largest for cars in the world – as the epidemic that started in December 2019 appears to be under control there and car sales are now even exceeding the figures before the pandemic.

The Beijing auto show 2020 is a symbol of hope, said BMW China boss Jochen Goller in front of journalists who wore masks as prescribed. In the exhibition halls, employees walked around with signs asking them to wear protective masks. The concept also includes holding press conferences via video. The fair was actually supposed to take place in March, but has been postponed due to the corona pandemic.

“Without China, the German auto industry would hardly be recognizable”

In August, auto sales in China rose 6 percent, while those in the United States, for example, fell 9.5 percent. The focus of the fair is on electric cars, as the Chinese government wants to make China the largest market for electrically powered vehicles. Almost half of the world’s electric cars are sold in China. In 2018, Beijing lifted restrictions on foreign manufacturers to stimulate competition. The purchase of e-cars is subsidized in China, but now at a lower level than last year.

The head of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Duisburg, Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, said on the occasion of the Beijing auto show that China had become the “essential pillar” of German manufacturers. “Without China, the German auto industry would hardly be recognizable.”

For example, Mercedes suffered a global decline of 20 percent in the second quarter, but sales in China increased by 22 percent, the auto expert told the dpa news agency. At BMW it looked “even more blatant”: a global slump of 25 percent was compared to an increase of 17 percent in China in the second quarter. “During the pandemic, China has gained significantly in importance for German carmakers.”

In Beijing, BMW is presenting its iX3 electric SUV, which is to be produced in northeast China for the world market. Nissan is also presenting an electric off-road vehicle model, the Ariya, which is said to have a range of 610 kilometers on one battery charge. Ford shows off its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV. It should be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.5 seconds.