The Shanghai auto show will be the perfect place to gauge the intensity of the SUV battle between the global and Chinese automakers.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Citroen and Honda have announced global debuts of SUVs or crossovers at the show, which opens April 20, and other automakers are sure to follow.
The SUV market is one of the few product segments in which Chinese automakers are successfully challenging foreign rivals for market share. Great Wall Motor and Jianghuai Automobile have cut sedan output to build more SUVs, while global players are racing to launch more SUVs.
Lin Huaibin, an analyst with IHS Automotive in Shanghai, predicts SUVs will generate more than one-third of China's passenger vehicle sales by 2025.
Chinese car buyers like SUVs for their dynamic styling and high seating positions, Lin said. "They like the feeling of lording it over other cars when they are driving an SUV."
China's SUV sales have grown at a rate of 30 percent annually since 2008 despite a slowdown of the overall market. More than 4 million SUVs were sold in China last year, accounting for 28 percent of total passenger vehicle deliveries. SUV sales in China jumped 36 percent last year and in the first two months of this year, deliveries soared 46 percent.
Here's a summary of key vehicle introductions planned for the show, which opens April 20.
Audi will debut a third Prologue concept car that previews its next A6 Allroad due to launch in 2018, a report said. The concept will build on the styling themes of the two-door Prolouge Coupe shown at the Los Angeles show in November and the five-door Prologue Avant unveiled at the Geneva show in March, the UK magazine Autocar said.
The BMW X5 xDrive40e, a plug-in hybrid SUV, will have its global debut. The all-wheel-drive vehicle is powered by a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined output of 313 hp.