Car Sales or Gridlock? China's Central Government At Odds With Beijing's Car Curbs

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

With a population approaching that of Australia and car sales of 700,000 new cars, or 890,000 new cars (depending on which issue of China Daily you rely more), Beijing used to be one of the most important car markets in the world’s largest car markets, China. As amply documented by TTAC, the car market in Beijing collapsed completely after city fathers ruled that new registrations have to try their luck in a license plate lottery first.

China’ top economic planners at the National Development and Reform Commission NDRC see their economic plans threatened, and are “appealing” to Beijing to change its policy.

In the first quarter of 2011, only 93,000 cars were sold in Beijing, a drop of 67 percent. Many car dealerships in Beijing are closed and boarded-up.

The NDRC wants Beijing to adjust or scrap its car quota, says Reuters, citing a story in the national Business Daily. In a report submitted to China’s State Council, the NDRC linked Beijing’s steps to the slowdown of auto sales in China. The Beijing market amounted to approximately 5 percent of China’s auto sales. This wasn‘t much as long as the market was growing in the high double digits. Now that China’s market is sputtering, every car counts. In the meantime, Dong Yang, secretary general of China’s automaker association CAAM told Reuters the report was not true.

The NDRC never had been a friend of harsh policies such as the one in Beijing. Chen Jianguo, deputy head of the industrial coordination department of the NDRC, had warned early on that purchase restrictions are not only insufficient to deal with the congestion problem, but could harm consumers and the industry overall.

In April, there were widespread reports that Beijing would exempt EVs from the license plate restrictions. However, these measures have yet to be enacted. There are no EVs to buy, and EV makers are waiting for the rules to come in effect.

Join the conversation
  • Blowfish Blowfish on Jun 25, 2011

    Folks with money & influence will buy another new car regardless, no wonder the haves are turning to copters rather than stuck for hours. i heard recently there were giant rainfall due to global warming and reversing weather trends , that turned into flash flood. The sewage system were never designed to handle this kind of water. As the city was built during Ming dynasty regardless the age, if a city was not designed to handle lots of rain and its going to be screwed!

  • Andrewpmk Andrewpmk on Jul 03, 2011

    Unfortunately congestion in Beijing is so severe that there is no reasonable alternative but to heavily restrict car ownership, similar to Hong Kong and Singapore. There simply isn't enough road space for everyone to drive a car there.

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that