The Cadillac SLS — which will be in the spotlight here tomorrow at the Beijing Auto Show — has been stretched to provide more legroom for rear-seat passengers, since many wealthy Chinese ride in chauffeur-driven cars. Its upright chrome grille presents a more formal silhouette than its sportier North American counterpart. And the interior of the SLS, which will start at $62,500, is more plush, with wood paneling, reclining back seats, indirect lighting and flat-screen televisions.
China’s car market is booming, with sales up 38% this year. The world’s major auto makers — and a slew of Chinese car companies — are scrambling to cash in on the soaring demand. And it’s more than the fertile Chinese market that has the industry buzzing as the Beijing show opens: Auto executives are also watching to see if DaimlerChrysler AG will announce what would be an industry first — a possible tie-up with a Chinese car company to make small cars for export to the U.S. and other markets. [Full Text, subscribers only]