It wasn’t just big German brands like BMW, Mercedes and Audi that we attracting attention at the Shanghai Motor Show.
British minnow Ariel was also attracting attention with its V8 engined Atom – forming a key part of a display by Bilstein suspension.
Chinese drivers are not known for their love of sportscars – as an example, of the 2,655 cars Jaguar sold in China in 2010, just 12 were XK Coupes. According to local experts there is no market for convertibles or roadsters.
But “times are changing” says Bilstein's regional sales director Martin Hyar. According to him, there has been a recent but rapid growth in interest in both sportscars and tuning products.
He said; “Parts of Asia, like Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan are reknowned for their sportscar and tuning scene, and we are confident that China is no different.”
“We are starting to see ever greater numbers of drivers choosing us to help tune their cars. What’s interesting about this market is that there seems to be a great focus on the very best money can buy."
"Parts we would usually sell to Porsche owners are being snapped up to fit to cars like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.”
And according to Hyar, there’s been plenty of interest in the Atom too… “The Chinese know a good thing when they see it” he said.