Two Chinese carmakers - Chery Automobile Co and WEY, the premium brand of Great Wall Motor Co - made their debuts at one of the world's largest auto shows this week.
The pair signaled their intentions of expanding into the European market as they showcased their latest sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, which kicked off on Tuesday.
Chery and WEY were the only two homegrown brands attending the biennial motor show this year, though some of their peers such as Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Changan Automobile Co participated in previous sessions.
Chery revealed the concept for its first global car, which is the M31T, a compact SUV. The SUV has state-of-the-art design and technology, including self-driving capability and new-energy features.
James Hope, executive director for design at Chery, said in an interview that despite difficulties for foreign carmakers in cracking the European market, which is filled with local brands, Chery is determined to make its entrance.
"Yes, at the heart of the German car industry… we are putting a stake in the ground," Hope told French news outlet Relaxnews in an interview ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show. "We want to build up the brand image and create different vehicles for different consumers but through a more emotional approach."
The other Chinese "face" at the Frankfurt, WEY, showed off six SUV models, including a new-energy concept car XEV, which was making its global debut. The XEV embodies both WEY signature and futuristic design features and is said to be fully powered by electricity.
In addition, the upscale brand of Great Wall showcased two traditional gasoline-powered vehicles - the VV7s and the VV5s - and three hybrid powered cars - the P8, the VV7s-Hi4 and the VV5s-Hi4.
In an online statement, WEY indicated its aim was to be a pioneer of Chinese premium SUVs.
"We are walking and will continue to walk on an uncharted road," WEY said
The rise of Chinese brands at global motor shows has been backed by a domestic market where local brands are increasingly taking the lead in SUV sales and production.
In the first eight months of 2017, Chinese-brand SUV sales grew 24.6 percent year-on-year to about 3.5 million units, accounting for nearly 60 percent of total SUV sales, according to data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on Monday.
The growth pace for domestic SUVs outperformed the year-on-year 17.1 percent gain for total SUV sales, and Chinese brands' market share in the SUV segment increased 3.6 percentage points, according to the data.