The People's Republic of China Hearts Cars
According to CHINAdaily, China's auto industry is booming, and the city of Guangzhou is feeling the pinch. "We will increase the total number of parking spaces in the city by 150k between now and 2010, with 50k coming this year," says Wang Dong, director of the Guangzhou urban planning bureau. Last year, Guangzhou had more than 1m cars on its roads; officials licensed 600 new cars per day. In an effort to increase total parking capacity by 50k, the city's OKed five large car parks at a cost of 1b Yuan ($140m). Meanwhile, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) have approved a group of "new" domestic vehicles. In a riff on Detroit badge-engineering, only a few are completely new models. The majority are comprised of "upgraded products from existing models." Chinese carmakers have released some 90 models a year for the past five years, including 20 "completely new ones." Finally, in an effort to curb "resource-intensive sectors and promote energy efficiency," the government is increasing the consumption tax for diesel fuel by about 70 percent (to the "full" tax rate of 0.10 Yuan per liter). We reckon even that won't slow the industry's growth. In just a single generation, the PRC has transformed from a nation of bicycle riders into a population of car-crazed consumers– and there ain't no goin' back.
Glenn- Thanks! I think I have some more car photos somewhere that I've been meaning to post. It's definitely a wild scene over there automotively... lots of A6L's (most with government plates) was one of the big surprises (I guess they're made locally)as was seeing several Quattroportes in Shanghai. The Honda Odyssey they sell over there is low-slung, swoopy and does without sliding doors... way cooler than our version. Between the weird cars and the chaotic traffic, it's a good thing we stayed on foot most of the time, or I'd still be nursing a case of whiplash!
China's love of cars is one of many reasons oil prices will continue to climb.
Imagine what China would be like today if they hadn't instituted the one-child policies all those decades ago.
Thanks to all who've commented- I found what you've written insightful and interesting. :-)