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Increased car ownership because of GDP-driven economic growth
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Increased car ownership because of GDP-driven economic growth
In China, cars have become the symbol of modern industry and the benchmark of a country¨s industrialization level. It is even a symbol of a high standard of living. The car is also drastically changing people¨s daily lives. When social status and personal identity have become linked to car ownership, and the car has been transformed from a luxury good to a consumer good it has moved beyond being utilitarian and has transformed our society.

Since the 1990s, China¨s auto manufacturing sector has undergone rapid development. It is now an economic pillar strongly linked to national economic growth. As of 2000, 20 out of 31 provinces have established preferential policies for car manufacturing and invested significant money to support its development. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the production and sales of cars in December 2009 hit a record high by exceeding 1.4 million units. The annual production and sales of cars in 2009 reached 13.79 million and 13.64 million respectively, a year-on-year increase of 48 and 46 respectively. Auto sales and production contributed to over 10% of the national GDP, according to Car Loan News in 2009. Li Xiaosong, Deputy Director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, states that car ownership in Beijing in 1978 was 78,000. Beijing hit the 1 million mark in 1997. After 13 years, this figure increased by 3.7 million for a total of 4.7 million, while it took Tokyo 12 years to have its car ownership increase from 3 million to 4 million. The increase in cars requires more roads and urban space; it is also the main reason for increased air pollution and urban traffic congestion. Bicycling has also become more dangerous and less convenient because of the increased number of cars on the road.



The figure 2 was created by members of our team, data from CUSTReC.




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