Category: China

By on October 5, 2015

Subaru Sambar

Twelve countries, including the United States, reached an agreement Monday on an historic trade agreement that could economically tie together more than 400 million people in Asian Pacific and American countries. The pact would cover trade for wide ranging products, from rice to pharmaceutical drugs to cars.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which negotiators have been working on for eight years, would thaw trade relations among countries included in the regional zone, including Japan and the United States. For automakers in both countries, the tentative deal includes provisions for Japanese automakers to (eventually) bring light-duty trucks to the U.S. For American automakers, part of the proposed agreement included a side deal between America and Japan to allow access for U.S. automakers to traditionally closed Japanese markets.

The agreement faces an uphill battle to get congressional approval; House Republicans and presidential candidates already have roundly dismissed the deal.

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By on October 2, 2015


Dongfeng Pickup at Kashgar livestock market

Dongfeng Pickup at Kashgar livestock market

After Ürümqi, we are now headed 670 miles (1,080 km) south-west to the hinterland of the hinterland: Kashgar. It’s China’s westernmost city and predominantly populated by Muslim Uyghurs.

To give you a rough idea of what Kashgar looks like, the city stood in for Kabul in Afghanistan in the movie “The Kite Runner”. In fact, Kashgar is 2,100 miles (3,400 km) away from Beijing by air, but only 500 miles (816 km) separate it from Kabul, 390 miles (722 km) from Peshawar, Pakistan, 1,200 miles (2,200 km) from Tehran, Iran, and 1,600 miles (2,900 km) from Baghdad, Iraq.
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By on September 25, 2015

Brilliance V5

After covering the northernmost city in China (Mohe), we now travel to Ürümqi in the Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region in the westernmost part of China. I thought we may as well push it to the extreme and explore the provincial capital furthest from Beijing, a whopping 1,500 miles (2,400 km) away.

In fact, Ürümqi – pronounced something resembling “Yooloomooshee” – is both geographically and culturally closer to Kabul in Afghanistan than it is to Beijing. The majority of the population is Muslim and most Chinese road signs are dubbed in Arabic and sometimes Cyrillic script.

What are the most popular vehicles in this remote part of the world?

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By on September 18, 2015

1. Dongfeng dealership MoheDongfeng dealership in Mohe

We continue on our exploration of Chinese regions and after Harbin we head north to Mohe, still in the Heilongjiang province. This is the northernmost city in the whole of China, completely rebuilt in 1985 after a devastating fire, with striking Russian imperial-era style with colourful facades, spired domes and pillared entrances. A further 60 km (37 miles) north via a very quiet highway is Beijicun (literally “Arctic Village”), the northernmost settlement in China on the Amur River, the border with Russia.

In fact, from a couple places in Beijicun you can clearly see a Russian settlement on the other bank of the river. Even though it was the end of April when I visited, the river was carrying a large amount of ice blocks thawing their way toward the Japan Sea. As you can see on the map below the jump, in Mohe we are further north than any point in Mongolia and around the same latitude as the north of Lake Baikal — two regions I reported on in a previous Trans-Siberian series. You can see the Russian part of the Trans-Siberies Photo Series here and the Mongol part here.

So what are the most popular vehicles in Mohe?

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By on September 14, 2015

1. VW Jetta Harbin

After Mudanjiang, we are staying in the Heilongjiang province to travel to its capital, Harbin. It’s the 8th most populous Chinese city and the most populous in Northeast China, home to a total of 10.6 million inhabitants.

The uniqueness of Harbin resides in its Russian heritage. Refugees from the Russian socialist revolution in 1918 made Harbin the largest Russian enclave outside the Soviet Union. The Russian Harbin community peaked at 120,000 people in the early 1920s, accounting for well over half of the city’s population back then. As a result, a large part of the old town is comprised of Russian-influenced buildings including the St. Sofia Orthodox Cathedral. Harbin’s main pedestrian street is packed every night, including during the week, with locals enjoying their growing spending power as street food stands offer scorpions and centipedes among other delicacies.

A happily bustling city with a heart and a story to tell made it one of the highlights of this Northeastern China exploration. But what cars are Harbin inhabitants most fond of?

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By on September 12, 2015

Miller Motorsports Park Circa May 2008

Miller Motorsport Park is going to be caught up in a Chinese finger trap of lawsuits thanks to one butthurt losing bidder.

Center Point Management, represented by Andrew Cartwright, is taking the winner — Geely subsidiary Mitime — and Tooele County to court over the bidding process.

According to Deseret News, the lawsuit filed by Center Point Management states the county broke local and state laws by “basing its decision on future benefits of uncertain value” instead of Center Point Management’s higher bid amount.

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By on September 11, 2015


Long-defunct German automaker Borgward has a new life in China if you couldn’t already tell by the photos. The automaker released images of its first new car — since I dunno, the Eisenhower administration? — and it looks destined for the land where rules for intellectual property are much more relaxed than public demonstration.

Buick business up front, Porsche party in the back.

The Borgward BX 7 is a five- or seven-seater crossover with a 2-liter, turbocharged four that will be produced in China, according to German site AutoBild. The fledgling German automaker is backed by Chinese truck maker Foton who says the carmaker could eventually sell 500,000 cars annually.

The Borgward BX 7 will go on sale first in China, then in Germany by 2017, according to the report.

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By on September 8, 2015

Nissan in China - Picture courtesy

Slate has a story about hit-and-run crashes in China that proves that truth is usually stranger than fiction.

Geoffrey Sant, who teaches law at Fordham and is on the board of the New York Chinese Cultural Center, details a trend among Chinese drivers to kill the people they hit with their cars to keep from paying millions in medical costs over their lifetimes. Often, the drivers plead ignorance — that they thought it was a bag of trash, or a box — and rarely serve significant jail sentences.

Incidents captured on video show drivers sometimes backing over their victims several times to insure that they’ve been killed, according to the report.

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By on August 31, 2015

magnastronach Picture courtesy

On Monday, Magna International completed its sale of its interior business to Grupo Antolin, a Spanish firm that’s relatively unknown outside of Spain.

That’s on top of Johnson Control International getting out of the interior business, along with other automakers and suppliers, as John McElroy pointed out in a well-written column for Autoblog.

Magna’s sale underscores the fact that the car-making business — and especially their interiors — isn’t exactly lucrative for most suppliers.

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By on August 28, 2015

1. Suzuki Lingyang taxi Mudanjiang

After Yanji in the Korean Autonomous Prefecture, we are now headed north to cross over to Mudanjiang in the Heilongjiang province, home to just under 1 million inhabitants.

Mudanjiang does have an airport, but it doesn’t have direct flights to either Yanji or Harbin, so it’s bus riding all the way for me to join these 3 cities and a good opportunity to check out the car landscape in the hilly Chinese countryside. Read More >

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
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