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China and cars: a love story - China is now the world's biggest market for new cars. Its motorway network will soon rival America's. But while the rich splash out on Porsches and Ferraris, resentment is growing among the have-nots
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His Highness the TibetanMonkey, the Beach Cruiser Philosopher
2012-12-19 13:45:14 UTC
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China and cars: a love story
China is now the world's biggest market for new cars. Its
motorway network will soon rival America's. But while the
rich splash out on Porsches and Ferraris, resentment is
growing among the have-nots
By Tania Branigan
The Guardian
Friday, December 14, 2012
Driving force: a luxury car parked in front of the Great
Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Stephen
Shaver/EPA/AFP
It is half a century since Zhang Jing's father impressed
the neighbours with a mark of his family's rising
fortunes. He was the first in the village to acquire a
bicycle; like Ford's Model T, the Forever came in any
colour you liked, as long as it was black. Though America
was deep in the golden age of the automobile, those days
lay so far ahead for China that small boys would loiter
on street corners in Beijing, waiting until a car drove
by and the exotic tang of petrol fumes filled their
nostrils. Even by the early 1980s, glimpses of imported
Soviet Ladas or stately Chinese Red Flag saloons were
rare outside the capital.
"We never dreamed we would have a chance to have our own
car… and not only one," Zhang's husband, Wang Junfang,
says.
China's love affair with cars began late, but it has more
than made up for the delay. In 2000 there were 4m cars
for the 1.3bn population and experts predicted that the
number would be six times higher by the end of the
decade. Instead, it soared 20-fold. Two years ago, the
country became the world's largest new car market. This
year, it should see about 18m sales, against 14.5m in the
US. The kingdom of bicycles is now the land of the car.
Michael Dunne, whose firm Dunne & Company advises on
investments in the Asian automobile industry, calls it
car culture with Chinese characteristics. People are
looking for freedom and convenience, but "it's different
from the US experience – open highways, rolling down your
windows, putting music on," he says. "In China, it's more
about social status: look at me, look at my new car. It's
much more about the thrill you get from pulling up in
front of your hotel or golf club or workplace and being
seen and recognised."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/14/china-worlds-biggest-new-...
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
Mao knew the vehicle of liberation was the bike. Still is, but the
Americans are convincing half the world that they need a car. Maybe
Hollywood is playing a big role in it with all the glamour and none of
the rage and slavery that goes with it. Here we got families on
welfare driving SUVs...

There's hope though. The car is not mandatory in Europe and they drive
small efficient cars. They often prefer a bike over a car. They are
simply smart.

The Revolution will Not be Motorized.
CJB
2012-12-19 22:44:57 UTC
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On Dec 19, 1:45 pm, "His Highness the TibetanMonkey, the Beach Cruiser
Post by His Highness the TibetanMonkey, the Beach Cruiser Philosopher
China and cars: a love story
China is now the world's biggest market for new cars. Its
motorway network will soon rival America's. But while the
rich splash out on Porsches and Ferraris, resentment is
growing among the have-nots
By Tania Branigan
The Guardian
Friday, December 14, 2012
Driving force: a luxury car parked in front of the Great
Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Stephen
Shaver/EPA/AFP
It is half a century since Zhang Jing's father impressed
the neighbours with a mark of his family's rising
fortunes. He was the first in the village to acquire a
bicycle; like Ford's Model T, the Forever came in any
colour you liked, as long as it was black. Though America
was deep in the golden age of the automobile, those days
lay so far ahead for China that small boys would loiter
on street corners in Beijing, waiting until a car drove
by and the exotic tang of petrol fumes filled their
nostrils. Even by the early 1980s, glimpses of imported
Soviet Ladas or stately Chinese Red Flag saloons were
rare outside the capital.
"We never dreamed we would have a chance to have our own
car… and not only one," Zhang's husband, Wang Junfang,
says.
China's love affair with cars began late, but it has more
than made up for the delay. In 2000 there were 4m cars
for the 1.3bn population and experts predicted that the
number would be six times higher by the end of the
decade. Instead, it soared 20-fold. Two years ago, the
country became the world's largest new car market. This
year, it should see about 18m sales, against 14.5m in the
US. The kingdom of bicycles is now the land of the car.
Michael Dunne, whose firm Dunne & Company advises on
investments in the Asian automobile industry, calls it
car culture with Chinese characteristics. People are
looking for freedom and convenience, but "it's different
from the US experience – open highways, rolling down your
windows, putting music on," he says. "In China, it's more
about social status: look at me, look at my new car. It's
much more about the thrill you get from pulling up in
front of your hotel or golf club or workplace and being
seen and recognised."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/14/china-worlds-biggest-new-...
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
Mao knew the vehicle of liberation was the bike. Still is, but the
Americans are convincing half the world that they need a car. Maybe
Hollywood is playing a big role in it with all the glamour and none of
the rage and slavery that goes with it. Here we got families on
welfare driving SUVs...
There's hope though. The car is not mandatory in Europe and they drive
small efficient cars. They often prefer a bike over a car. They are
simply smart.
The Revolution will Not be Motorized.
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