Eight more cities in China want to limit the purchases of private cars in order to fight and manage the growing double whammy air pollution as well as traffic congestion menace in the country. The eight include Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin and Wuhan.
Good news for the environment, bad for automobile makers wanting to get a grip on China's growing car riding population. Easily, these curbing policies will slash overall nationwide sales by 400,000 units, or 2 per cent of total domestic sales. Surely, it will make a "certain impact" on the country's overall economic growth, Shi Jianhua, deputy secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAMM), said on Thursday.
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Four cities in China have actually already started curbing purchases of vehicles meant for private use, restricting sales through a lottery system and auctions. Among these four cities include Beijing and Shanghai.
According to a report by state Xinhua news earlier this year, the number of vehicles in Beijing has jumped from 3.13 million in early 2008 to 5.18 million at present.
But car experts said the pronouncement will drive panic buying.
"The market will just jump in those cities," Yale Zhang, managing director of Autoforesight Shanghai Co, told Bloomberg News. "Consumers will panic and will start to buy whatever they can before the measures."
Transport expert Zhao Jian from Jiaotong University's School of Economics and Management in Beijing likewise believe little in what could be achieved of the car vehicle purchase restrictions, simply because it will never address the growing air pollution problem in the country.
"The restrictions on car ownership in Beijing failed to achieve what the government wanted to see because the restrictions only slowed the growth in the number of cars. They didn't reduce the numbers of cars," Zhao told AP.
"Even with proper enforcement, the policy still won't solve the air pollution problem, neither will similar measures in other cities," Zhao said.
According to CAMM, in the month of June alone, sales of passenger vehicles jumped 9.3 per cent to 1.4 million units.
Nonetheless, experts also believed China's vehicle purchase curbs will become the norm.
"More cities will introduce purchase restrictions," Hong Kong-based analyst Ole Hui told Bloomberg. "This is just the beginning of a long-term trend."
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