In its quest for domination of the global car market the Chinese government are encouraging its citizens not to trade in their 10 year old cars as in Europe but instead their bicycles! The package is part of a string of measures designed to push the country’s annual car sales and production past 10 million units, and include the encouraging of car loans, reducing tolls on some roads and subsidizing car purchases in rural areas. The “bicycle for car scheme” will see farmers who trade in three-wheeled vehicles or lightweight vans for new small cars receiving a subsidy for the purchase. This is an interesting direction for a country which may eventually dominate the global car sales market, perhaps by further acquisition of struggling car makers and – by ensuring that potential drivers in the remotest parts of the provinces have access to motor cars – will probably become the biggest car making country on the planet (China Sells More Cars than the US).
When you factor in that Volkswagen plans to double its vehicle sales in the Greater China area to 2 million units by 2018 then the sheer scale of the market becomes clear. VW said they plan to add four models each year and double the number of its dealerships to 2,000 during the period. This is part of VW’s greater plan to further increase its market share in China, which currently stands at 19 percent. Volkswagen sold 1.02 million vehicles in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau in 2008, up 12.5 percent from a year earlier.