No License? Chinese Police: "We'll Teach Ya"

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
no license chinese police we ll teach ya

The Chinese government wanted to create demand for an extra million vehicles per year with their “cars to the countryside” program. It goes like this: farmers who replace their three-wheeled vehicles for light commercial vehicles receive a maximum subsidy of 5,000 yuan ($731). Not enough to spur consumption? “For cost-sensitive farmers, a 10-percent subsidy is enough and would be effective to boost demand,” said Tan Jijia, an auto analyst at Pacific Securities Co. He was wrong. There is another problem . . .

Farmers in China rarely have driver’s licenses. Of the approximately 1.5 bn people living in China, only slightly more than 100 million are licensed to drive a car. Other than in the big cities, which clog daily with traffic, cars can still be an oddity in some rural towns. Even in larger cities more inland the preferred type of a taxi is the backseat of a motorcycle. That became apparent after the “cars to the countryside” wasn’t the roaring success it was hoped.

The lack of licenses won’t deter the Chinese; the Ministry of Public Security will dispatch policemen to the countryside to give farmers easier access to driving license examinations, Gasgoo writes. Even mobile offices for vehicle registration will be set up in rural parts of China. Normally a driving school teaches driving, and police stations issue the permits.

Unfortunately, there are no driving schools and very few police stations in the Chinese countryside. Between 55 and 80 percent—depending on whom you ask and who does the counting—of China’s population lives in rural areas. Even tier-3 cities often lack an essential element to car ownership: car dealers.

This should serve as another indicator that China, for the months of January and February the world’s largest auto market, is largely untapped.

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  • HEATHROI HEATHROI on Mar 24, 2009
    Time between combustion cycles seemed measurable in seconds, and each percussive “bang” was accompanied by a cloud of sooty exhaust. Gross. I thought thats what travel writers called "local colour"

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Mar 25, 2009

    superbadd75: "...have not only never driven..." Hmmm... the way I read it, they drive all the time. They just have never been licensed to do so. Who knows, they might be pretty skilled at handling those things.

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.