Ah Beijing, probably one of the most populated cities in the country, I know that Shanghai is the city that has recorded the biggest population in China, but it was eye opening to see just how crazy the traffic situation is in the capital.
After spending a few days of sitting in a van and observing the traffic outside (fearing for my livelihood as well but that is another story to tell) I have learned a few interesting facts about the cars in China.
Did you know?
1… most of the cars have a stretched wheelbase?
China is a largely sedan loving bunch of people. But unlike their “cramped” living situations in the city, they demand more space in their rides, hence the need for manufacturers to stretch their wheelbase to create more space for everybody in the car. Cars that we’re familiar with, like this Mercedes-Benz E-Class you see here has longer wheelbase only for the Chinese market! Even the BMW X1 debuted in the Beijing Auto Show with a wider wheelbase!
2… all forms of motorcycles are banned in urban cities, even the electric-bicycles!
They are banned due to noise pollution, air pollution, illegal motorcycle taxi operation, and the list goes on and on. If you see a motorcycle in a city like Beijing, it’s because the owner has purchased it before the ban was enforced but our guide told us that as of March 2016, even electric powered bicycles are banned due to the rising amount of traffic crashes and fatalities. And no, you don't need to put on helmets to ride a bicycle in Beijing, in fact, it's not illegal to ride a bicycle without a helmet anywhere in the world I think.
3… car companies have a need to indicate which company the owner of the car bought from
In China, one brand can be marketed by two different car companies. Volkswagen, for example, is represented by SAIC and FAW, two of the “big four” car companies in China. Honda is represented by Guangzhou Automobile Group and DongFeng. And these companies have stamped their territory across the back of the car, although some will miss out on the badging as one model can be marketed by both companies only under a different name, observe the Passat is also known as the Magotan while the Honda City is also known as the Honda Graze.
4… most of these cars are CKD-ed in China and sold in China only
There is a reason why there are so many cars in China, most of them are assembled in China. This explains why brands like Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln, MG and Chevrolet is so popular in this country, as the cars are CKD they have a massive price advantage. These China CKD cars though will not be exported out as the Chinese don’t seem to care much about quality but more about quantity.
5… three generations of the same model can be sold all at the same time!
Up until now, you can still purchase a second generation Mazda 6 brand new! If you want to purchase the SKYACTIV Mazda6, you will have to inform the sales person you are looking for an Atenza instead. Apparently, China has so many people that there is still a market for older generation cars but at a cheaper price. Jerrica Leong