GLOBAL CARMAKERS will show off their latest models at the Beijing Auto Show this week, days after -

China unveiled plans to shift gears in the world's biggest car market by lifting foreign ownership restrictions.

Industry giants such as Volkswagen, Daimler, Toyota, Nissan and Ford will be among the companies seeking the limelight in a country where 28.9 million vehicles were sold in 2017, a three percent increase from 2016.

Although sales lost steam compared to the previous year, foreign automakers are still eager to win bigger slices of a huge market as they face increasing competition from domestic companies that are investing in electric and self-driving vehicles.

And the Beijing Auto Show is their chance to display their new models to Chinese car enthusiasts.

The event is becoming the largest in the industry........ No one can ignore China,'' said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research, based in Germany.

This year's auto show could could be dominated by 'political' topics, he said.

The spectre of trade war between Beijing and Washington worries auto executives as it could bring their plans for China to a screeching halt.

But Beijing announced on Tuesday that it will liberalise foreign ownership limits in the sector, a move seen as a possible olive branch to President Donald Trump, who has complained about China's rules for the industry.

China currently restricts foreign auto firms to a maximum 50 percent ownership of joint ventures with local companies.[Agencies]


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