efe-epaBy Paula Escalada Medrano Shanghai (China)

Amid declining car sales on a global level, the future of the automobile industry hinges on Auto Shabghai, where major companies will try to heat up the market in the coming days with their new models and a clear focus on electric vehicles.

All the efforts are being made to reverse the global trend of plunging sales, which are visible in China and has been the focus of international automobile companies.

The Asian country has been undergoing nine consecutive months of decline.

According to data provided by the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the total sale of vehicles fell 5.2 percent to 2.52 million in the month of March, while passenger vehicles saw a 6.9 percent decline.

Shaggy Zhu, assistant manager for Dongfeng Sokon (DFSK) America told EFE there was no need to be alarmed as the data was circumstantial.

People in China are investing more in the real-estate sector and awaiting new measures on alternative energy vehicles, he added.

With the theme of "Create a Better Life," Auto Shanghai 2019 - an auto show which is held alternatively in Beijing and Shanghai every year - offers the mobility of the future and will allow some 1,000 exhibitors to present their projects.

Although the exhibition opened for the media on Tuesday, the show will open to the public from Apr. 18 to Apr. 25, during which time some 140 new vehicle models will be launched.

Among them will be the first all-electric vehicle from Mercedes, developed for China.

Mercedes-AMG A 35 L 4MATIC and all-electric Rapide E from Aston Martin will also be showcased.

Citroen also brings its new range of SUVs - adapted for Chinese clients - with C3-XR along with C4 and C5 Aircross.

Nissan joins the show with its new Sedan compact model Sylphy while Toyota is set to showcase its first two electric SUV models for China - C-HR and IZOA - that it plans to launch in 2020.

The majority of the international brands along with the Chinese ones want to show the consumers that they have not lagged behind in the alternative energy area in the automobile sector.

Zhu added that in terms of research and production, China is leading at a global level with its high technology and development of electric vehicles.

More and more international companies are seeking to associate with Chinese automobile companies, he added.

According to official data, more than 1 million vehicles were sold in 2018, with an inter annual rise of 85 percent and it is expected to reach two million units in 2020.

Although global sales have fallen, the sale of electric vehicles has been growing exponentially, partly because local governments have been carrying out plans to promote the production and sale of these vehicles to fight pollution in big cities.

Germany's Daimler, which joins the long list of collaborations between Chinese and foreign companies, along with China's Geely is set to transform the iconic Smart.

Zhu said that the perception of China as a purely manufacturing country is far behind and the public trusts Chinese automobile manufacturers increasingly more and the international automobile firms look at the Chinese ones one-to-one.

Zhu further added that the understanding of "Made in China" as something of low quality is changing and said this happened with Japanese and Korean brands in the past and in China the quality control during production is very high. EFE-EPA

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