Top of the range car design was on show this week as the Shanghai Motor show unveiled the latest hydrogen vehichles.

The show opened on Earth Day, and reflecting growing environmental concern, companies displayed gasoline-electric hybrids and futuristic experimental vehicles powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells.

At an exhibition centre on Shanghai's eastern outskirts, thousands of spectators thronged displays by US, Asian and European automakers that are looking to China, the world's second-biggest vehicle market, to drive global sales as growth elsewhere slows.

Automakers also showed off new luxury sedans, SUVs and sports cars, highlighting foreign efforts to boost sales in China's booming market, and ambitions by up-and-coming Chinese competitors to expand abroad.

China's own automakers also put on elaborate exhibits. At the Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp display, willowy Chinese models in British-style riding breeches and helmets stood around the company's Roewe, a sedan based on the Rover 75, which SAIC bought from Britain's bankrupt MG Rover Group.