MGs Icon concept is based on the MG5

MG's Icon concept is based on the MG5

The Beijing motor show illustrates perfectly why the Chinese event will take over Japan's mantle as the premier industry event in Asia.

The halls and stands, particularly those of the domestic carmakers, of which there are many, are vast and so are the visitor numbers although we won't get the final figures for some days yet.

In terms of products, Beijing is right up there with Frankfurt - but requires not nearly as much foot slogging.

There were over 1,100 vehicles to be seen from an array of manufacturers such as you will never see anywhere else in the world. Some we have heard of, many we haven't and we are unlikely to ever see them outside China.

This is the red hot market at the moment, having overtaken the US two years ago in the number of vehicles sold. Over 18m of them last year and a projected 30m by 2015. If there is a cloud on the horizon, it's the fact that growth has slowed to 8% from 10% last year and 11% in 2010.

There are many markets around the world which would love to have any growth, let alone 8%. Things have slowed following the ending of various government stimuli which turbocharged the market for a while and, at the show, the Chinese carmakers seemed a little subdued.

The slowdown in growth seems to have hit them the hardest as consumers crave foreign imports and it is the luxury and SUV sectors that are on the crest of a wave. Put them together and you could be on to a winner.

This was probably on the minds of Lamborghini and Bentley with their SUV offerings. As MG designer Tony Williams commented, SUVs are currently the sweet spot of the market.

There was also a large number of converted vans and people movers, their interiors redesigned to seat just a couple of people in opulent luxury - even Mercedes got in on the act with its Vision Diamond.

In true Frankfurt style, the Volkswagen Group had a whole hall to itself showcasing the Audi Q3, the Lamborghini Urus, and an open-top version of the Bugster concept as well as launching its Seat brand in China.

The Brits were out in force and seemingly going great guns and there was no shortage of crowds around Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lotus, Mini and Jaguar Land Rover. There are signs of life at MG as well with its fun little Icon concept.

The view from the industry watchers here is that growth will continue, although getting gradually slower.

Thomas McGukin, PwC's automotive leader in Asia Pacific, said: "China is going through a period of transition. The government is introducing new regulations and policies designed to boost the domestic industry and economy. In Beijing, the city government has introduced restrictions on car sales in a bid to address congestion problems as well as the appalling air quality.

"The buyer demographic will also change as we see more customers from outside the tier one cities. The country is also undergoing a leadership change and so we are entering a period which could see a change in the landscape in China."