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Lots of Luck, Guo Konqhui !!!

Expert urges against buying luxury sedans
Updated: 2007-07-15 09:33

Stop buying foreign luxury sedans! An auto industry expert told the Chinese people Saturday, worrying about a blind, extravagant trend in car purchasing and ignorance to more economical, homegrown brands.

Many Chinese people are considering cars as a symbolic of their social status and vying for buying luxury, especially foreign-made sedans, said Guo Konghui, honorary dean of the Automobile Engineering College of Jilin University, at a forum at an on-going international auto fair held in the northeastern Chinese city of Changchun, a major base of China's auto industry.

"A lot of foreign friends of mine have told me that they don't understand how China, as a developing country, could become the largest consumer of the Benz luxury sedans?" said Guo, who is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Many foreign automakers did not even consider about transporting their sedans back to their own countries when they held exhibitions of luxury cars in China, because the sedans were usually sold out, he said.

Guo urged the Chinese people to stop the luxury trend and encouraged them to buy more low-emission, environment-friendly cars, especially domestic brands, in a bid to build an energy-saving society.

For many years, Chinese brands were regarded as low-end, substandard products as many were unreliable. But over the past year, local brands started moving into the more lucrative high-end sedan market, industry analysts have said.

China's consumption of energy has soared as the economy has grown, and the country is under great pressure and facing many challenges to achieve its goal of cutting by 20 percent the amount of energy it uses to produce a unit of GDP.

Shortages of coal, electric power, petroleum and shipping capacity are big challenges that China faces in its development.

Approximately 85 percent of the country's annual total gasoline consumption and 23 percent of diesel oil consumption were used by automobiles, industry figures show.

Last year China became the world's second largest market for new vehicles after the United States, with an annual output of 7.28 million and sales of 7.22 million.

About 4.46 million vehicles were produced in the first half of this year, up 22.4 percent on the same period last year, while vehicle sales rose 23.3 percent to 4.37 million, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Output and sales are both expected to hit a record 8.5 million this year, analysts predicted.

Also Saturday, Qin Huanming, vice general manager of the Changchun-based China First Automobile Works Group Corp., said at the auto fair that China still has a huge potential for car consumption and car sales may reach 10 million by 2010.

Meanwhile, he said that automakers and urban administrators should have to find ways to ease the huge pressure on cities in terms of road safety and environment protection while the auto market is developing at a high speed.

Earlier this month, the mayor of southern Chinese booming city of Shenzhen, Xu Zongheng, urged his 11 million residents to stop buying cars in a bid to ease worsening traffic and pollution problems.

The city now reports more than one million cars, with 90,000 new cars registered already this year.

Xu said that people were buying vehicles "too quickly."

"Problems arising from the city's traffic are mounting. I hope residents take this into consideration when planning to buy cars. And about 70 percent of the city's air pollution is caused by exhaust fumes," he said.

The Fifth China Changchun International Automobile Fair opened Friday in the capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, with about 100 auto companies from home and abroad displaying 132 brands of vehicles.

International automakers including Volkswagen, Audi and General Motors, as well as major Chinese auto companies such as China First Automobile Works (FAW ) Group Corp., will attend the 10-day event, organizers said.

Concept cars, trucks, buses, special purpose vehicles and vehicles for military use will be on display at the fair, which occupies an exhibition area of 140,000 square meters.

The international automobile fair is a biennial event which was first held in 1999.

China Daily

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The Chinese peeps these days are getting over their heads with luxury goods consumption. The gov has to do more to encourage fuel efficient and environmentally clean vehicles, and come up with comprehensive public transportation systems.

Only when public transit is convenient, comfortable, reliable, and economical will people give up their personal vehicles.
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