New Regulations Provoke Car Buying Frenzy Across Beijing
Rumors and speculation over regulations attempting to limit the torrent of new cars that appear on Beijing streets every day have been swirling around for weeks. Now it seems limits are going into effect, a move that has provoked a frenzy of car buying madness across the capital.
According to this morning’s Global Times the new regulations take effect today. In the next year the city will only license 240,000 new vehicles, allocated through a lottery system. To give some perspective on what this means, over 700,000 cars were licensed in 2010. The scope for – ahem – “underhand dealings” in the new system is breathtaking.
Ironically – though predictably – the regulation has provoked the biggest car buying spike in the capital’s history. Just last month Beijing set a new record as the number of new cars registered in a week doubled to 18,000. This past week the number skyrocketed to an astounding 30,000!
The Guardian pointed out today that at the current rate Beijing will hit the 5 million vehicle mark by February – a mere 14 months after we passed the 4 million mark. In late 2009 locals were shocked that Beijing had gone from 3 to 4 million in a short 2 years.
The person feeling the immediate fallout from the sudden surge is former vice mayor for traffic management, Huang Wei, who, according to the New York Times, “resigned Thursday and was reassigned to remote western China, the exile destination of choice for those out of favor.” Some Chinese traditions just never die.
The lack of parking for all these cars, and the possibility that plates will not be issued for cars without their own parking spaces, has led to overnight campouts and fights among residents vying for the mere hundreds of spaces in communities of thousands.
Everyone may enjoy some extra congestion this evening as we blogged earlier this week. Consider it Beijing's Christmas gift to everyone.