Beijing Auto Show revs up global confidence in Chinese NEV market

Visitors at the 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, Beijing, China, April 29, 2024. /CFP

Visitors at the 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, Beijing, China, April 29, 2024. /CFP

The 2024 Beijing Auto Show was a dazzling stage for nearly 1,000 exhibits, with appearances of new energy vehicles (NEVs) surging 70 percent compared to the last show to reach an impressive 278. Witnessing China’s booming NEV market, multinational carmakers acknowledged that it presents new opportunities for the global automotive landscape.

The auto show, an A-list event also known as 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, took place as NEV sales hit a milestone in early April, accounting for over 50 percent of cars sold in China, the world’s most competitive and largest auto market. The show concluded on Saturday having attracted 892,000 visitors in just 10 days. 

A new report from the International Energy Agency includes a bullish forecast for global EV (electric vehicle) sales, saying more than 20 percent of cars sold worldwide this year are expected to be electric, with demand surging for EVs over the next decade, which will substantially cut oil consumption by road transport.

“At the Beijing auto show, there’s no doubt there is no interest in gasoline vehicles anymore. Everyone is looking for the latest technologies in intelligence and electrification,” said William Li, founder and CEO of Chinese EV maker Nio.

The booth of Chinese EV maker Nio at 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, Beijing, China, April 24, 2024. /CFP

The booth of Chinese EV maker Nio at 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, Beijing, China, April 24, 2024. /CFP

Surging global confidence, cooperation

Global automakers including Volkswagen and Toyota came to this year’s Beijing Auto Show, searching for Chinese partners and announcing new tie-ups. 

Among the most active were Japanese and European automakers, with announcements coming from Toyota Motor that it would team up with Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent on artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, and Volkswagen promoting its partnership with Chinese EV startup XPeng. 

In addition, Japan’s Nissan and China’s leading search engine Baidu agreed to carry out research on AI and explore the feasibility of commercial cooperation. 

In addition, foreign car firms touted plans to invest more in local production and research in China. German automakers including Volkswagen and Mercedes were among those to emphasize their efforts to localize production and invest more in local partnerships, with Volkswagen saying repeatedly its goal was to remain the best-selling foreign automaker in China into 2030.

The Volkswagen Group, which also includes Audi and Porsche, plans to launch 40 new models in China over the next three years, and to have a lineup of 30 EVs by 2030. Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume said China is the company’s “second home market.”

At the 2024 Beijing Auto Show, Audi introduced its first fully-electric model, while Mercedes-Benz debuted an all-electric SUV specially designed for China.