Carmakers in China are fretting over whether a tax break that has propped up sales this year will be extended. As Hayley Platt reports, the prospect of the first annual decline in sales for the world’s largest auto market was a hot topic at the Guangzhou auto show.
Even the announcement of 30,000 job cuts couldn't keep Volkswagen away from China's second most prominent auto show. And it wasn't just cars they were showcasing at Guangzhou - there was fun and games with virtual reality technology. And of course - plenty of electric vehicles. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAIMLER BOARD MEMBER RESPONSIBLE FOR CHINA, HUBERTUS TROSKA, SAYING: "We now believe 2025, 15-25 percent of our vehicle sales could be electric. This is why we decided to create a new sub-brand which is "EQ". It's not IQ intelligence, it's EQ: electric intelligence." Daimler-owned Mercedes Benz debuted its first all-electric SUV concept. SUV sales in China were up 46 per cent in January-October compared to last year, as more consumers were able to afford them. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF RENAULT DONGFENG, FRANCOIS PROVOST, SAYING: "SUV is still the most growing segment. And total SUV represents 37 percent of the market, so its why, Dongfeng and Renault decided to go together starting with SUV." Joint ventures across sectors are also increasing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CIBC, HEAD OF FX STRATEGY, JEREMY STRETCH, SAYING: "I think we are going to see consolidation between the auto sector and the high tech industries but of course also at the same time we're seeing some of those high tech industries starting to reverse or considering reverse engineering into the auto sector." And there was another subject worrying many at the show. No decision has yet been made over a tax break that has propped up sales this year. If it's not extended the world's largest auto market could see its first annual sales decline.