However, to sell cars in China, many manufacturers have realised they need to tailor their cars to Chinese tastes.
But what sort of cars to Chinese car buyers want?
The answer is simple; big and luxurious. The 2012 China show is packed full of big luxury barges with huge dimensions, extreme luxury and astronomical price tags.
For brands such as Jaguar and Land Rover, they have taken it in their stride. Known for their luxury and with a strong brand identity, it is no surprise to see both Jaguar and Land Rover flex their muscles with some incredible, equipment-packed luxury cars.
However, it is not just Jaguar and Land Rover making a move into China this year. The French duo of Citroen and Renault have also revealed a car specifically designed for Chinese buyers, while Fiat and Ford has also got in on the act with some new models.
While many of the price tags and running costs are huge, these cars are a fine example of just how premium a manufacturer can go. So, we’ve rounded up five of the best from China and discuss whether they will be available to UK buyers.
Victoria Beckham Range Rover Evoque
An £80,000 Range Rover Evoque designed by the wife of footballer superstar David Beckham and decked out in matte grey with gold highlights may not be to everybody’s taste but the 200 limited edition versions are expected to be popular in China, where it first goes on sale.
The Victoria Beckham Range Rover Evoque features luxury leather, a selection of interior materials and even a unique wallet signed by Posh Spice.
It will be available in the UK – if there are any left after the China sales.
Jaguar XJ Ultimate
Remember the stunning £120,000 Range Rover Ultimate Edition? Now the Jaguar XJ, the most luxurious of Jag’s saloons, gets the same treatment.
Coming in at an eye-watering £100,000, the Jaguar XJ Ultimate comes with champagne holder and glasses, iPads and a monstrous, top-of-the-range sound system.
It also comes with Jaguar’s new 3.0-litre engine, set to appear in the new Jaguar F-Type sports car.
The high price makes it the most expensive XJ ever and it will be going on sale in the UK.
While Renault’s China-only saloon is not up to the Jaguar XJ in luxury stakes, it is a car aimed at impressing young Chinese business men and women.
Renault has labelled the car ‘casual luxury’ and hopes it will help the brand ‘gain momentum’ in the next few years.
Renault has not released full specification for the Talisman but it will cost upwards of £30,000. Unfortunately for UK buyers, don’t expect to see it on our shores any time soon.
Citroen Numero 9
The Citroen DS3, DS4 and DS5 are huge favourites with UK buyers, matching luxury to affordability and throwing in some eye-catching designs in the process.
The Citroen Numero 9 is a different thing altogether. Designed as a glimpse at the future of DS styling, it is a huge, luxury saloon with a remarkable exterior design and luscious interior.
It also comes with almost unbelievable running costs. CO2 emissions are just 39g/km and it averages 166mph despite offering 295hp and four-wheel drive.
This is because it uses a new hybrid powertrain and is even capable of driving on purely electric power for short distances.
However, it is only a concept car and there are no plans to put it on sale – but look out for some of the styling in the next set of DS models in UK dealerships.
Fiat has launched the new four-door, five-seat Fiat Viaggio saloon for the Chinese market, a departure from the popular small cars such as the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda, currently sold in the UK.
Fiat hopes the attractive Italian design will wow Chinese buyers, who will no doubt associate Italian automotive design with the likes of Ferrari and Maserati.
Fiat also says the car will feature ‘sophisticated’ turbo engines and the latest dual dry clutch transmission.
Like the majority of competitors Fiat says it will open up the Chinese market for the brand. And, like the majority of competitors, it is unlikely the latest model will make it into the UK.