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Business

High-tech on display as Shanghai motor show kicks off

SUVs, eco-cars grab the spotlight, reflecting trends in world's largest car market

Visitors flock to the Shanghai auto show on April 19, the first day of the event. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

SHANGHAI -- The 17th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition kicked off Wednesday, with more than 1,000 automakers and other auto-industry players showcasing their latest products. Big focuses of this year's event include eco-friendly vehicles and SUVs, which are becoming increasingly popular in China.

Models that made their China debut include two from Honda Motor -- the NeuV, a concept car featuring artificial intelligence technology, and a new addition to the CR-V family -- and Nissan Motor's Vmotion 2.0, a concept car packed with autonomous-driving technology and other advanced features.

According to London-based IHS Automotive, 27.58 million cars were sold in China in 2016, excluding midsize and large buses and trucks. That is an increase of 13% from the previous year, thanks in part to Beijing's tax breaks for compact car purchases. However, a reduction in the incentive is expected to cause the growth to slow.

SUVs are hot property in China, especially among younger drivers, and automakers are racing to enhance their lineups. Mitsubishi Motors is displaying a version of its GT-PHEV Concept SUV in Shanghai.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen of Germany is showcasing its electric cars at the event, including the I.D. Crozz SUV-coupe, in what is the model's global debut.

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