We’re in the capital city of China this week for the 2018 Auto Show. Beijing has many things in its favour, like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and crispy roast duck (that’s him, above). But it also suffers from crippling levels of pollution and traffic density, which makes it an ironically terrible place to attend a motor show. Even the city’s attempted solutions, like massive numbers of shared bicycles, pose their own problems. Some evidence below...
But the Chinese economy is powering many current (oops) automotive advances, particularly in electric vehicles and advanced UX, and there are a bewildering number of seemingly well-funded and ambitious Chinese companies who appear out of nowhere to show off a new and innovative car (though they sometimes swiftly return to obscurity if funding proves less solid than promised) so this show will be a fascinating glimpse of what may be coming down the line sooner than you imagine.
And there's one more thing – in truly abrupt Chinese style, the government has suddenly ended the rule which obliged all car companies who wanted access to the Chinese market to partner with a local firm, so opening up the market to global competition. Will many brands make the jump to going solo in this largest yet most daunting of markets? We’ll see.
In the meantime, we’ll be on the track of concepts, launches, design details, interviews and more. And don't forget to follow our Twitter feed, which we'll be filling with lots of show snippets, ranging from just-revealed hot news to mildly off-topic sidelights on what promises to be an enlightening and exhausting few days.