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Xi’an puts draft policy to control number of new car sales on hold

By Zhang Ye (Global Times)

08:56, August 10, 2012

The Office of Legislative Affairs of Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, put on hold a draft traffic safety order Wednesday, six days after the office circulated the draft for public comments on August 2, the National Business Daily reported Thursday.

According to the draft, the Xi'an government would control the number of cars in the city and take measures to reduce traffic flow on the roads in order to ease the city's congestion.

If the order is carried out, Xi'an would become the fifth city in China to control the number of new cars, following Shanghai, Beijing, Guiyang and Guangzhou.

Guangzhou announced a quota system for new car ownership in June. Beijing adopted a lottery system last year to allocate license plates for new cars. Shanghai began an auction system for new license plates in 1994, and the lowest bid for a plate reached 64,000 ($10,074) yuan by 2012.

However, these policies have failed to make an obvious improvement in Xi'an despite a significant drop in car sales, Jia Xinguang, an independent automobile analyst in China, told the Global Times Thursday.

Guangzhou saw car sales of 330,000 in 2011, which will be cut to 120,000 in 2012 based on its quota system. Beijing added 174,000 new vehicles in 2011, much lower than the 810,000 sold in 2010.

"If many other cities follow such policies, the whole automobile industry would be impacted," Jia said.

Vehicles sales in China, the world's largest auto market, reached 18.5 million units in 2011, an increase of 2.45 percent year-on-year.

Some experts noted that Xi'an has 1.2 million vehicles, the 10th highest in China, but much lower than Beijing's 4.7 million.

The local governments should take into consideration their actual conditions before adopting policies, and not just follow other cities, Zhang Feng, a professor of administrative law from China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times.

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