2009 Guangzhou auto show opens today image

The 2009 Guangzhou Auto Show kicked off today. As China’s third-largest auto exhibition (after those in Beijing and Shanghai), the show is seen as a barometer of the Chinese auto market, CCTV.com reported.

Global carmakers such as Volkswagen, Toyota and General Motors, together with their Chinese joint ventures, are showcasing their latest models at the show. Toyota, this year’s biggest exhibitor, has brought 45 concept and production models, occupying a display area of nearly 4,000 square meters.

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker who aims to boost its market share in southern China, will unveil 27 new models. Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz will also launch new models at the show. The French carmaker Renault, attending the Guangzhou auto show for the first time, is showcasing six models.

“The situation is quite different from last year. Last year, exhibitors at the show were all reeling from the global financial crisis. This year, China’s rapidly growing auto market has boosted confidence,” said Wang Xia, China Council for Int’l Trade Promotion.

China’s domestic auto companies are also set to launch their latest models to compete with their international rivals. The following cars (according to China Car Times) are having their launch party at the Guangzhou show:

The MG6, by SAIC Motor, is the car that MG fans worldwide have been waiting nearly 5 years for. The new car shares a shortened Rover 75 platform with the Roewe 550 sedan but the MG6 will be coming in fastback form.

The Changfeng Acumen is Changfeng Motor’s first sedan and is a departure from their traditional area of SUV’s. Since its takeover by Guangzhou Auto earlier this year, Changfeng’s R&D capability seems to have accelerated and has brought the Acumen sedan to a production level.

The Greatwall i7 is Great Wall Motor’s first premium hatchback, with an interesting grill and a rear end that we may have seen somewhere else before. The i7 looks to be well built and clearly a step ahead of other GWM vehicles.

Changan Auto Group, striving to be China’s third biggest carmaker after its recent takeover of AVIC’s Changhe Auto and Hafei Auto, will have a mega display of new cars including the new facelift Ben Ben, the Yue Xiang, A101 mini car and the C116.

The week-long Guangzhou Auto Show, running from November 23 to 30 at the Guangzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center in southern China’s Guangdong province, is expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors.