Industry opposes limit on car license plates

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Shanghai, October 23, 2008: ( The measure to limit the number of vehicle license plates to 100,000 or so would cripple the car industry, the 21st Century Business Herald industry cited insiders as saying.

According to a recent Xinhua news report citing sources familiar with the matter, only 100,000 vehicle license plates will be issued each year in the capital city in the coming years.

"The measure will undoubtedly strike heavy blow to the auto industry,¡± said Su Hui, general manager of Beijing Asian Games Village Automobile Exchange. He said representatives of auto industry have already submitted their suggestions to the country's policy-making body and is awaiting response.

If this measure is implemented, the vehicle sales in the city will sharply decrease, and about two-thirds of the auto dealers in Beijing will have to close their stores, the report said.

"I for myself do not support such measures and I see no other government has ever taken such administrative measures to restrict new car growth," said Xu Changming, Director of Economic Research, State Information Center.

"If Beijing takes the measure first, other Chinese cities will soon follow up, which will further drag down economy nationwide,¡± he added.

"Beijing is seeing an increase of about 20 percent, or 300,000 new cars a year, Guo Jifu,¡± director of the Beijing municipal transportation development research center, told a conference recently. Two million more cars are expected to take to Beijing's roads by 2012, bringing the number to 5.4 million.

"The new cars will need another 60-sq-km parking space, which equals the total area within the Second Ring Road," Guo said, adding the new vehicles will also burn at least 1.3 billion liters of gas each year.

Beijing has already launched a new traffic control policy that will limit private cars on the road based on the even-odd number of their license plates. The measure, which aims at reducing pollution in the Chinese capital, started on October 13 and will continue until April 10, 2009 and removed up to 800,000 cars from the road on a daily basis.

Under the policy, 70 per cent of government vehicles, as well as all private and corporate cars, should be off the roads for one out of five weekdays. The system works by banning cars with plate numbers ending in 1 or 6 from the city¡¯s roads on Mondays, and those ending in 2 or 7 on Tuesdays, 3 or 8 on Wednesdays, 4 or 9 on Thursdays and 5 or 0 on Fridays. The ban removes up to 800,000 cars from the road each day.

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