Ford and General Motors are charging forward into the past this week at the Shanghai Auto Show, reviving two once-familiar nameplates in a bid to build market share in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.
The Ford Escort and Buick Riviera are just concept vehicles for now, but both offer hints of what the two U.S. manufacturers may have in store for Chinese consumers. Indeed, once little more than a backwater event, the Shanghai gathering is this year one of the world’s most significant car shows, with dozens of new vehicles making their global debut there.
And for good reason – by at least one estimate, the Chinese automotive market could soon be larger than the U.S. and European markets combined. By 2022, forecast senior GM officials, sales in the People’s Republic could top 35 million annually. That’s more than double the peak hit in the American market nearly a decade ago.
No surprise, then, that Tim Lee, the president of GM’s International Operations, told reporters that, “No market is more critical than the China market for us.”