Heavens! 16.7 Million Vehicles Sold In China?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
heavens 16 7 million vehicles sold in china

In today’s wode tian (OMG) moment, China’s People’s Daily reports that “a total 16.7 million vehicles were sold in China last year, bringing the country’s total vehicles to more than 186 million.” Shen me? (Excuse me?)

Careful with the Chinese numerology. In China, everything with a motor (except for battery bicycles,) down to the gadzillions of motorcycles, counts as a vehicle. So no, China hasn’t eclipsed the American good old times of 16m cars just yet.

Wode tian (OMG) moment “Around 41 percent of the vehicles were cars and 51 percent were motorcycles,” says People’s Daily. Jeez, does that mean that Chinese bought only 6.85m cars in 2009, half of the expected 13.5m? Take a deep breath. Bad translation. Should read “51 percent of the 186m vehicles are motorcycles.”

The numbers above were released by China’s Ministry of Public Security that handles vehicle registrations. Total numbers of Chinese car sales have yet to be announced by the China Association Of Automobile Manufacturers. Watch this space for the official announcement.

Interesting factoids: According to the Ministry’s statistics, 76m cars are on China’s roads. Taking the official Chinese population number of 1.3b at face value, then this comes down to 60 cars per thousand pop. A far cry from the more than 800 cars per thousand in the US, or the 500 cars per thousand in most developed countries. Think they’ll never drive more than a bicycle? Think again.

Almost 200 million Chinese can drive a vehicle, about 15 percent of the population. There are 138m holders of a driver’s license for a car, nearly twice the number of cars on the road. (In the US, there are some 200m licensed drivers, and some 250m registered cars.) About 19 million Chinese obtained a driver’s license in 2009.

The talks of a Chinese car bubble are bubbles in some peoples’ brains. China has taken the first baby steps to mass motorization. China has many decades of growth ahead of it.

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  • YZS YZS on Jan 08, 2010

    I’m guessing that Bertel, like most older business people working in China; knows a few spoken phrases, or maybe even many of them, but does not know written Chinese. It’s a lot more difficult to learn than say, French. Mostly because first, it’s a completely different writing system (not alphabetical), and secondly because it’s not even phonetic. Although he can probably get people to help him, it would just be inconvenient.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Jan 08, 2010

    TTAC please don’t post all this PIN YIN. Instead, you should post Han Zi characters and back them up with Pin Yin inside parenthesis.

    Anything else I can help you with? Low interest loan? Live-in ayi?

  • Tassos those 90s pathetic orange pixels are inexcusably lame in a 2010.The interior is filled with Grey Rubbermaid plastic and the tiny sliver of real or fake wood is an utterly pathetic attempt to pretend it's upscale (don't even THINK of "Luxury")Merc SLs with similar metal retractable roofs look so much better inside and out.Regardless of what you paid for this way undepowered near-luxury pretend-sports car, you would have done so much better with a PORSCHE BOXSTER...
  • Dukeisduke That's a cool picture (the one under the bridge) - where was it taken? Google Image Search doesn't turn up any matches.
  • Dukeisduke Okay, yeah, they should fix this, but, "URGENT: DO NOT DRIVE THIS VEHICLE"? I think we're reaching Peak Idiocracy.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is a great review, and very accurate from my perspective as the owner of a closely related, but longer and taller, E93 335i convertible. So much in this review is familiar. Here are the things that are a bit different about the 335i:[list][*]My car is a manual. Shifter action is good, with positive engagement, although a bit more play and rubbery feeling in the shifter than you would get with, say, a six-speed Honda. The clutch is a bit disappointing. It has a "clutch dampening valve" intended to protect against the most abusive clutch dumps. The valve throws my timing off a bit and I have had a hard time learning to drive this car with perfect smoothness, especially in the 1-2 shift. I may remove the valve at some point.[/*][*]My car has the turbo (in single-turbo N55 form). On the plus side, you get what feels like significantly more power than the rated 300 hp once on the boost, and even in fully stock form you get entertaining whooshing noises from the blowoff valve. On the minus side, there is some turbo lag, more than you get in many modern turbo cars, and fuel economy is, well, not close to what Corey is getting. The turbo car also comes with an active exhaust system that is extremely quiet when puttering while making some nice inline-six noise at wide-open throttle.[/*][*]There are back seats! I have a nine-year-old and a six-year-old. The six-year-old fits perfectly. The nine-year-old still fits, but that will likely change within the next three years. These seats are not usable for adults unless the front-seat occupants squeeze forward more than normal. E92 coupes are slightly roomier in back, and E90 sedans are substantially roomier.[/*][*]My car has the M Sport suspension, which does not have variable dampers. It's firm enough that I have to be careful to avoid even small holes on city streets if I don't want to get jarred. But if you can avoid the holes it feels good, navigating expansion joints and such without uncomfortable impact, while maintaining impressive body control for a porky 3900-pound convertible.[/*][*]My car has iDrive and a screen, as well as parking sensors. But it does not have a backup camera. Graphics on the screen are pretty good by 2011 standards, which is to say not acceptable by modern standards, but the system is easy enough to navigate and works pretty well. I prefer the rotary controller to a touch screen for fingerprint reasons.[/*][*]The parking sensors are by far the best of any car I've ever owned, and they are so accurate I really don't need a camera. The sensors go to a solid beep when the appropriate end is about 4" from an object, and I can comfortably cover about half that distance with no fear of bumping. They also project legimately useful graphics on the iDrive screen showing where the object is. I park in tight city settings enough that I really appreciate the accuracy. Also in the city parking mold, my car has power folding mirrors, which I wish every car would.[/*][*]Like you, I have the mid-level "Hi-Fi Professional" stereo setup, but in the four-seat convertible there is not a dedicated subwoofer. Bass is a bit on the weak side. Sound quality is about comparable with the JBL system in my Toyota Highlander, which is to say it's good enough for listening in the car but is not going to impress anyone.[/*][*]There are small leaks from the joints between the top and the A-pillars in my car. They won't soak the interior, but they will result in a few drops of water on the front seats after a hard rain. I'm still experimenting to see if regular applications of rubber protectant can restore the seals enough to eliminate the leaks. There are no leaks from any other part of the top mechanism.[/*][*]I've only owned the car for about eight months and 1500 miles, but so far nothing has broken and every feature on the car works correctly. A purchase-time inspection found only an incorrectly secured fan shroud and no other problems, and there is a mostly complete service history, so this was a well-maintained car to start with.[/*][/list]
  • Lou_BC This offer reminds me of those plans where you get something free but if you fail to cancel prior to the expiry of the "Free" plan you end up on the hook for a lengthy contract. Tesla wants to attract people to their electrical company. It's smart. Make money selling the car, make money with subscription services on the car, and make money selling the fuel to power the car at home and at charging stations.