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2020 Beijing Motor Show – Business Strategy and Overview of Major Automakers and NEV Startups

The 16th Beijing International Automobile Exhibition (Auto China 2020) or popularly called 2020 Beijing Motor Show, was held between September 26 and October 5. Due to the impact of the new coronavirus infection, the 2020 Beijing Motor Show was held five months later than it was originally scheduled. It gained increased attention as motor shows in Geneva, New York, Detroit and Paris were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Although it was somewhat smaller compared to the previous Beijing Motor Show held in 2018 in terms of site area (220,000m2 →220,000m2) and models exhibited (1,022 units →785 units), major automobile manufacturers from around the world exhibited new-energy vehicles (NEVs) and various technologies compliant with environmental regulations as well as connected and autonomous driving-related technologies.

Themed “Smart vehicle for the future,” in addition to vehicles, exhibitors showcased their technological capabilities in various areas such as electrification, intelligent, connected and autonomous driving. From the viewpoint of the NEV products exhibited, the major features were the extension of the driving range and the increased number of models that support the battery replacement method. In addition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), there was an increased number of exhibitors of other electric vehicles plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) that comply with fuel efficiency regulations. As for fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), only Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor exhibited some products. China’s SAIC Motor announced its FCEV business plan “Hydrogen Strategy” prior to the show. By 2025, the automaker plans to release a total of 10 models, aiming for annual production and sales of 10,000 units.

Connected and autonomous driving-related technologies were displayed by a large number of exhibitors. Since these technologies improve driving comfort and convenience, there is an increasing demand from consumers, younger drivers in particular.

New luxury brands launched by various manufacturers in recent years attracted attention. Such trend indicates that automakers intend to step up luxury vehicle business with new brands. Geely Automobile’s Lynk & Co brand and Great Wall Motor’s WEY brand have already become regular marques at motor shows. BAIC Group’s luxury BEV brand ArcFox was exhibited at 2020 Beijing Motor Show following its debut last year at the Shanghai Motor Show. Dongfeng Motor Corporation's new luxury NEV brand Voyah was launched this time.

The number of startups at the show specializing in NEVs decreased compared to the Shanghai Motor Show held in 2019. In addition to companies such as NIO, Xpeng Motors and WM Motor which have already began mass production, Human Horizons and Hozon Auto exhibited mass-produced and concept models. NIO introduced a new charging service and Xpeng revealed a free charging plan and a battery leasing service. However, it is also necessary to pay attention to emerging manufacturers which do not take part in exhibitions. It appears that Li Auto, whose delivery of mass-produced vehicles is proceeding smoothly, has decided not to participate at the show to reduce costs. Also Byton and Bordrin Motors, which face financial difficulties, stayed away from the event. It is said that intensifying competition and reduction of NEV subsidies will weed out less competent emerging manufacturers.

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