Automotive Retail

Hot Cars From the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show

Photo: Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

From hybrids and mind-blogging concept cars to compact sedans, automakers from around the world are pulling out all the stops this week to attract the world's biggest car market.

The battle to boost sales in China, where auto sales are set to hit 21 million this year compared to 15 million in the U.S., is heating up as automakers compete for market share.

Here are the some of the show stoppers at the Auto Shanghai Summit, together with highly anticipated models scheduled to be released soon in this red-hot market.

Click ahead for some of the highlights from this prestigious annual event that runs until April 29th.

By Rajeshni Naidu-Ghelani
(Posted April 22, 2013)

Ford Escort Concept

Ford Escort Concept unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show, China.
Meghan Reeder | CNBC

Ford kicked off this year's Shanghai auto show unveiling its Escort Concept - a compact car designed specifically for the Chinese market.

The Escort Concept features a hexagonal front grill with a chrome outline and sports LED lights. While no specific details were given on when the Escort Concept would go into production, Ford said in a statement that it plans to focus on China's compact car market, which accounts for more than 25 percent of the country's total vehicle industry.

The carmaker announced last week that it plans to double its share of China's car market to 6 percent over the next three years as it introduces a series of new vehicles like the Kuga SUV, EcoSport compact SUV, Explorer large SUV and the Mondeo mid-sized sedan. All of these models will be available in China by mid-2013.

Chery QQ

Chery QQ at the Shanghai Auto Show, Shanghai, China
Meghan Reeder | CNBC

While foreign carmakers are trying to grab market share, homegrown rivals are also keen on defending their turf.

Chinese manufacturer Chery Automobile showcased the new model of its popular low-cost Chery QQ model - a "city car" that's been in production since 2003. The car currently retails for $4,000. Chery Auto, which was once China's largest domestic automaker, has been relying on government subsidies as rivals pull ahead.

Chery SUV Concept

Chery SUV concept at the Shanghai Auto Show
Meghan Reeder | CNBC

Chery Automobile also unveiled its SUV Concept at the Shanghai auto show as part of its new "iAuto" platform as it pushes towards producing higher quality vehicles to compete with foreign carmakers.

To go with the SUV Concept's sleek design, it has features like a "Cloudrive" infotainment system that extracts data from the internet rather than storing them in the car.

The new concept car is aimed at improving Chery's image as a quality-car producer and helping it expand its reach in the domestic market, where Chinese automakers only account for 12 percent of sales.

Geely EX8

Geely EX8 at the Shanghai Auto Show, Shanghai, China.
Meghan Reeder | CNBC

Geely, the owner of Sweden's Volvo, displayed its EX8 SUV at the Shanghai auto show, with expectations that the vehicle will be launched in China this year.

Geely, one of China's biggest automakers, is building more expensive vehicles like the EX8 SUV to compete with foreign carmakers. Marketed under Geely's Emgrand brand, which was launched at the 2009 auto show, the EX8 features giant touch screens in the interior, in addition to gasoline and diesel engines.

Geely and Volvo are also jointly developing a new compact platform for smaller cars, some of which will be built at a new Volvo plant in Chengdu, China.

Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee at the Shanghai Auto Show, Shanghai, China.
Meghan Reeder | CNBC

The all-new Jeep Cherokee made its international debut at the Shanghai auto show after premiering in New York last month.

The SUV will be on sale in China in the fourth quarter of this year, according to Mike Manley, CEO of the Jeep brand at the Chrysler Group. The automaker wants to produce a vehicle in China by the end of 2014 and said the Cherokee could be made at a new plant in the south-central city of Changsha, which is in part owned by Fiat, Chrysler and Guangzhou Automobile.

Home to a growing SUV market, China is Jeep's second biggest market and saw sales rise 107 percent in 2012 from the previous year, according to the carmaker.

Audi R8 V8

Photo: Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

German carmaker Audi showcased a flashy red Audi R8 V8 at the Shanghai auto show.

The new version of the R8, which was launched in 2007, has a more powerful V8 engine and also features a new 7-speed gearbox. The cost of a base R8 version in the U.S. starts at over $114,000.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told reporters at the auto show that China is helping offset falling auto demand in its core region, Europe. The automaker also said that it will speed up the launches of high-performance cars to boost profit as it tries to narrow the gap with luxury-market leader BMW, Reuters reported.

Chevrolet Camaro

Photo: Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

Crowds gathered around the ever-popular Chevrolet Camaro in Shanghai, as the American classic manufactured by General Motors went on display.

Last year's model marked the 45th anniversary of the Camaro, while the latest 2014 version (pictured) features LED tail lamps. Automaker GM is aggressively trying to increase market share in China, and announced on Saturday that it would add four new plants in the next three years in the country to bring its production capacity to five million vehicles a year. GM, along with its joint ventures, will invest $11 billion in China by 2016.

Ferrari 458 Spider

Photo: Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

With no shortage of eye candy for car enthusiasts, Ferrari displayed its 458 Spider at the Shanghai auto show.

The convertible is described on Ferrari's website as the first ever car to combine a mid-rear engine with a retractable folding hard top. The sports car is reported to reach 60 mph in under 3.3 seconds. The ultra-luxury sports car sells for over $300,000.

China's premium car market accounts for nearly 10 percent of all passenger car sales, while market intelligence firm IHS Global Insight forecasts the segment will grow 17 percent in 2013.

Lexus LF-CC Concept

Photo: Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

Toyota's premium brand Lexus showcased its eye-catching concept car in Shanghai over the weekend.

Designed at Lexus' headquarters in Japan, the car won the best concept award at the Detroit auto show in January and there are reports that the model could be in production for arrival by 2015. The LF-CC is part of a Lexus 2 2 sport coupe design that features a glass roof, two 12.3 inch LCD screens and fog lamps.

Toyota, meanwhile, announced last week that it plans to start assembling the Lexus ES 350 sedan at its Kentucky plant in 2015 - marking the first time the Japanese automaker will build a vehicle from its luxury lineup in the U.S.

Chery @ANT Concept

Photo: Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

Chinese automaker Chery showed off its @ANT electric concept car in Shanghai amid growing pollution concerns in the world's biggest auto market.

The futuristic-looking concept car made its debut last year and features a two-seat passenger cell with scissor doors, while the front wheels are separated from the main body, taking inspiration from ants' legs.

With Chinese consumers warming up to green electric cars amid fears of deteriorating air quality, several domestic carmakers are turning to developing hybrid cars to enter this niche market.