The People's Republic of China Hearts Cars

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
the peoples 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.

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  • Edward Niedermeyer Edward Niedermeyer on Feb 20, 2008

    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!

  • Hltguy Hltguy on Feb 20, 2008

    China's love of cars is one of many reasons oil prices will continue to climb.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Feb 20, 2008

    Imagine what China would be like today if they hadn't instituted the one-child policies all those decades ago.

  • Glenn Swanson Glenn Swanson on Feb 21, 2008

    Thanks to all who've commented- I found what you've written insightful and interesting. :-)