China's most important car show for 2013 - Auto Shanghai - is a key date in every global carmaker's diary. This year, dozens of global unveils were revealed throughout the 17 halls of the show - from Maserati's sporty new four-door to Mercedes' compact SUV. Despite China's big-city traffic and pollution problems, the desire of the country's inhabitants to own a car (particularly telling by the massive crowds who flocked to the exhibition) is still huge.

Annual vehicle sales in this country with a population of about 1.2 billion people are set to hit an incredible 21 million by the end of 2013 - way ahead of any other world market, especially as luxury brands take an increasing slice of the pie. China is well on course to becoming the world's biggest luxury car market by 2018. It is already the second-most important sales region for Bentley and Ferrari, while Rolls-Royce's Beijing and Shanghai dealers rank as number one and three within its top five sales outlets.  

With a flat-lining European market, China is crucial to Western car brands' financial success and, as its customer buying tastes become increasingly sophisticated, massively influential in terms of what sorts of cars will be available in the rest of the world too. Local Chinese car brands may still be struggling to differentiate their products but Wallpaper* saw signs of strong local-branded concepts too, notably from Chery and Icona. Out of the hundreds of cars on view, here are our top 10 from this year's show.

TAGS: TRANSPORT