SUVs take the spotlight at Beijing auto show

A new generation of SUVs are on display at China's biggest car show as foreign and domestic automakers show off their latest — and outlandish — new vehicles.

Compact and mid-sized SUVs a growing segment in China

Beijing's largest car show may not have the same prestige as Frankfurt, Geneva or Detroit, but automakers like Honda, as well as domestic brand Great Wall Motors, have saved their SUV launches for China.

This is Honda's Avancier SUV and Chinese car company Chery's new Tiggo 7 on display in Beijing on Monday — the first day of Auto China 2016.

(Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
(Andy Wong/Associated Press)

Rising incomes and low car ownership are driving car sales.

The fastest growing segment in China's car market is on the low end of the spectrum with compact and mid-sized models made by domestic brands making up the bulk of sport utility vehicle sales.

This is state-owned BAIC corporation's Jeep, which looks a lot like a Jeep Wrangler, and its Senova X35 on the show floor in Beijing.

(Andy Wong/Associated Press)
(Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty)

The popularity of SUVs has risen steadily.

SUVs are being marketed as a popular option for China's rough, rural roads and are the only product segment still growing in the world's largest market.

Honda is among the established SUV makers who want a piece of that business. This is the Acura CDX SUV at its launch ceremony in Beijing on Monday, followed by a shot of Haval SUVs, or "Hovers," made by Chinese car company Great Wall Motors. 

(Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
(Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty)

Last year, SUVs accounted for one-third of all vehicle sales in China and industry analysts say that figure could rise to half. Sales of sedans and minivans, by comparison, fell by 5.3 per cent and 17.5 per cent respectively, according to The Associated Press.

What about Beijing's smog problem?

Industry insiders point to a push by major Chinese cities to curb congestion and smog by limiting new car ownership as driving the SUV boom. Its the resultant need to target buyers in smaller rural cities that is prompting companies like Volkswagen to bring its latest vehicles to China. This is the T-Prime Concept GTE hybrid SUV. 

(Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

China wants luxury hybrids, too.

Automakers in Beijing also brought their all electric and hybrid vehicles. Here's a hybrid Porsche and a prototype Audi Quattro SUV.

(Damir Sagolj/Reuters)
(Andy Wong/Associated Press)

Chinese buy more 'energy vehicles' than Americans.

China overtook the U.S. last year as the biggest electric car market by number of vehicles sold. Called "new energy vehicles" in China, manufacturers and buyers are being steered to electrics and hybrids by subsidies and fee exemptions, as well as other incentives.

These two, which are electric and not for sale, are Toyota's FCV Plus and the Jixie concept car.

(Andy Wong/Associated Press)
(Andy Wong/Associated Press)

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters