July 15, 2024
Shanghai show highlights growing rivalry between Chinese and European brands

China’s rising automakers will go head-to-head in their home market with Europe’s top brands at this year’s Shanghai auto show, which once more becomes a major event in the auto calendar after being upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Germany’s Volkswagen Group is sending CEO Oliver Blume, along with the head of its VW brand, Thomas Schaefer, and Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, in a sign of the importance of China, which is the group’s biggest global market. Mercedes-Benz CEO Oliver Kallenius will also attend the show.

As competition intensifies at home, especially for electric cars, Chinese brands have set their sights on Europe with EVs that have high-tech features and top NCAP safety ratings.

SAIC’s MG last year doubled its sales to 113,917 cars in Europe, putting it ahead of other Chinese newcomers to the region such as BYD, Great Wall, Xpeng and Nio. In Shanghai, Nio and Xpeng, along with startup brands HiPhi and Geely’s Zeek, will debut Europe-bound EVs.

Key debuts from European automakers include the Volkswagen ID7 full-electric sedan, which will be the flagship of its ID model line; the Porsche Cayenne, which gets a major face-lift; and the Mercedes-Maybach EQS, an ultraluxury SUV aimed at China’s wealthy customers. It will be the subbrand’s first full-electric model.

The 2021 Shanghai show was a low key event held under the shadow of the pandemic. This year’s exhibition will be the world’s most diverse auto show based on automaker participation after the decline or cancellation of other globally significant shows such as Geneva.

The show’s press days are Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here are some of the key debuts:


Audi will reveal more details about its Formula One project. The brand is entering the race series in 2026, when it will provide engines for the Sauber team, which will become the Audi works team.

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