What are the benefits and consequences of the growing car industry in China?
Since 2009, China has been the largest car market and the automaker in the world, in recent years producing annually more cars than the next two automakers (US and Japan) combined or more than all the EU countries combined (“Dream machines,” 2005). China is diminishing the production of automobiles reaching the yearly market growth of 5% to 10% rather than doubling the digits in the past (Greimel, 2012). There are several benefits and consequences of growing car phenomenon. Firstly, the growing automobile industry shows the increasing level of economic development of China. The annual average GDP growth of 8% is providing people with more buying opportunities to become the middle class or change their agricultural background and get a chance to afford almost worshiped car in China. Moreover, in 2012, China managed to surpass the United States as the carmaker’s largest market (Ewing, 2012). In addition, it is an indicator of globalization, for example, joining the WTO in 2001 it lowered tariffs on car import and made the trade barriers transparent. Car producers in China started manufacturing low-cost vehicles and continued to reduce the prices by 10% or more annually, which facilitated the development of the Chinese middle class because of the affordable autos both Chinese and of foreign car companies (made or assembled in China). Moreover, China also demonstrated the relevant stability during the crises since a big car manufactory such as BMW has increased sales in China rising to 37 percent in 2012 (Ewing, 2012). The most obvious consequence was the creation of a “car culture” in China stimulated by the low car prices and encouraged by the ideas of Zhu Ningning to create an auto city (“Dream machines,” 2005). However, despite all the benefits, the harm to the environment in the form of air pollution is becoming overwhelming.
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What would be a social engineering approach to the increasing number of cars in China?
There are several possible social engineering approaches to the growing number of cars in China. Evidently, the objective is to limit the number of automobiles on the roads of the country. Firstly, it would be the ceiling for the purchase of cars as well as the limit in the issuance of the license plates. Additionally, vehicles with non-local numbers in a particular Chinese city are banned from riding the ring road during the rush hour. Secondly, it is the restriction on the often usage of the automobiles, for instance, in Beijing people could use the personal car only four days per week. Thirdly, there may be the emergency measures to confine the transport. Furthermore, another approach is increasing the awareness of dangerous outcomes of using automobiles in the society. For example, providing the statistics of road deaths as China has the highest rate of road accident deaths in the world that consists of 5.1 road accident deaths for every 10,000 motor vehicles in 2007. Unfortunately, the rate is rising as the number of automobiles is increasing (“China's road death rate highest in world,” 2008). Along with the car accidents, there is an enormous pollution and traffic when streets are jammed with the cars (Koppel & Goldborough, 2009). The government should also allow people to use bicycles and motorcycles prohibited or restricted in the major cities (“Dream machines,” 2005). Additionally, the authorities should pay attention to societal changes in China that happened after urban citizens started influencing other people by their car purchases as the indicator of wealth and status causing the low popularity of the public transport (“Dream machines,” 2005). The social engineering approach may be successful but there is also a need for a technological fix. Although the idea of the technological fix is often criticized and is sometimes called counterproductive, it may become the stimulus for considerable innovative improvement of Chinese automobile industry (Scott, 2011). To sum up, the Chinese government should impose high standards for automobile industry making it more eco-friendly and energy efficient. Moreover, it should encourage people to use bicycles and public transport introducing it to be more attractive and convenient. Finally, it would be beneficial to restrict the petroleum car sells.
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What would be a technology fix (engineering solution) to the increasing number of cars in China?
The engineering solution would be the encouragement to buy and use electric vehicles by the Chinese. China’s plan to sell 500,000 electric cars by 2015 failed resulting only in 8,000 sold (“Not yet. Look before you leapfrog,” 2012). The government could either create favorable conditions for all-electric vehicles owners decreasing the taxes and increasing the petrol costs or limit the petrol automobile sales. The problem is the price for all-electric vehicles that is approximately 120,000 yuan (“Not yet. Look before you leapfrog,” 2012). However, if the government makes it obligatory to acquire electric vehicles, the price will be the limit factor of the automobile number in the country. Moreover, the government may encourage society to buy such autos by installing more recharging stations as now China lacks them. On the whole, China should use appropriate technology such as a focus on renewable energy, green business, smart growth and sustainability in the automobile industry (Backer, n.d.). It demands the development of environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient cars to support the further evolution of the automotive sector of the country. However, that expansion would be in the quality but not in the quantity since the technology will be evolving while the number of the automobiles will remain the same or decrease when people require the fuel-efficient vehicles instead of the old ones that use petroleum. China plans to reduce the average fuel consumption and the number of vehicles. As a result, the increased share of cars on alternative fuels will assist in optimizing the energy consumption in the country. Priority will be given to the development of electric and hybrid vehicles as well as the alternative fuels for vehicles. The perspectives in this field are granted to SAIC, a joint venture with CODA Automotive, collaboration with Chery and Better Place, BYD, and others (Ding, Wang, & Wang, 2011). Additionally, the internal factor plays a pivotal role since there is a need of Chinese automobile industry reconstruction because of being too disperse and having an excess production capacity (Ding, Wang, & Wang, 2011).