China is strengthening its image as the most important market for the auto industry. Chinese auto sales are up 13 percent from one year ago. Industry observers are predicting total sales of over 20 million vehicles this year.
By comparison, a little more than 15 million vehicles are expected to be sold in the United States. The importance of the Chinese market could be seen last month at the Shanghai auto show, industry representatives there were showing products design to meet China's growing demand for luxury cars, and larger vehicles.
Dave Schoch is with Ford Motor company. He welcomed the chance to meet with thousands of possible car buyers.
"So you've got 30 million customers out there, all with different tastes and different affordability levels. And what Ford wants to do is bring the power and leverage of our global line-up, you know from small to medium to large, into China."
However, competition can be fierce. Dieter Zetsche is the chairman of the German Auto manufacturer Daimler AG.
"We are increasing our local 6 here in this country. And next month we are opening the first engine plant with the capacity of 250,000 units outside of Germany for Mercedes engines."
Many Chinese see cars as a sign of success. Yale Zhang is with Automotive Foresight -- an industry group. He says the rising demand for top quality automobiles is a sign of China's rise as an economic superpower.
"This market is becoming more like European or American style."
Demand has been especially high for larger sport utility vehicles (SUV's).
Karsten Engel is head of the BMW group in China. He says the spaces insides of SUV's appeal to the newly rich, although some will probably never drive them.
"The ultimate driving machine, you probably experience a lot from the rear seat with your driver, so you need more space, you want more space. You want to have the possibility to work in the car."
51VOA注：The ultimate driving machine（终极驾驶机器）一直以来是BMW 及其拥趸月找宣传的口号和身份标签。
That's something Stefan Brungs understands. He is the marketing director for the automaker Bugatti's.
"This is what the Chinese have learned and perceived as luxury -- to sit in the back and be chauffeured."
塔说，“这就是中国人学到劲视文享受的一件事 -- 坐在后座由司机接送。
The demand for larger cars is strong, yet environmental issues and fuel concerns are leading to increased interest in vehicles with better fuel economy.