Car Makers Shrug Off New China Sale Restrictions

China plans to restrict vehicle sales in eight more cities to curb traffic congestion and pollution, but car manufacturers are not worried, since they expect organic growth in the world's biggest auto market to outweigh any restrictions.

According to Reuters report, environmentalists say any such measures are unlikely to make much of a dent in air pollution.

New car sales are already restricted in four Chinese cities –Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Guiyang - by limiting the number of license plates and selling them to consumers through auctions and lotteries.

Last week, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said eight more cities, such as Chengdu, Chongqing and Wuhan, might soon join Beijing and Shanghai in restricting new car purchases. Government officials have still not spelled out the policy.

Shi Jianhua, the auto association's deputy secretary general, warned that such restrictions, if implemented, could cut sales by 400,000 vehicles, equivalent to 2 percent of domestic sales in 2012.

Industry insiders and experts say the additional restrictions, also likely to be implemented by limiting license plates, will not depress overall sales in China.

"We expect licensing restrictions to have limited impact on new car sales," Bob Socia, head of China operations for General Motors Co., said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters, referring to such fears.

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