Business / Motoring Opinion

Industry insiders offer guidance to government

By Han Tianyang and Xu Xiao (China Daily) Updated: 2013-03-18 05:42

Editor's note: The number of drivers on China's roads is constantly growing, posing new challenges. The following is a summary of statements made by delegates from the auto industry during the annual two sessions. Here they suggest ways for the government to strengthen the industry while building a better society.

Tang Yuxiang, president of Yutong, China's largest bus manufacturer, talked about the heavy air pollution in recent months. He noted vehicle emissions are a major source of pollution, especially buses and trucks that use low-grade diesel fuel.

He suggested that the government should promote gas-electric hybrid buses on a large scale in public transportation, which could be one of the most efficient ways to improve air quality and save energy in urban areas.

He said that on average hybrid buses use 30 percent less fuel compared to their combustion-engine counterparts, which means that each hybrid bus can save more than 7,000 liters of fuel annually. It would significantly reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions if all 18,000 buses in Beijing were replaced with hybrid versions, he said.

Tang also called for more pilot programs to use plug-in hybrid and all-electric buses in public transportation. He said the central and local governments should support the construction of more charging facilities and allow a preferential electricity price for such vehicles.

Wang Fengying, president of Great Wall Motors, talked about the recent push by Chinese automakers to expand globally by exporting products and building production facilities overseas.

Great Wall Motors is one of the first domestic carmakers to explore overseas markets and the third-biggest auto exporter last year by volume. Wang asked the government to offer more support and guidance for domestic carmakers when they invest overseas.

According to her proposal, concrete measures could include establishing a system to reward good companies in overseas business as well as an information platform to prevent and control potential risk.

She also petitioned the government to improve legislation regarding overseas investment and set up a specialized agency to help companies go global. Wang suggested that an insurance system be established for overseas investment and that the government should offer financial support in the form of favorable tax rates and loans.

The entrepreneur also requested more support for innovation in the domestic auto industry. For example, a special government fund could be used to reward companies that make breakthroughs in key technologies. She said that more investment in research and development is needed to narrow the technological gap between China's carmakers and foreign competitors.

Li Shufu, president of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, said China's taxi industry needs a unified industry entry threshold to avoid regional protectionism and monopoly.

He said the government should set unified criteria on the choice of models for taxis, including safety, emissions and interior air quality.

He went on to say that taxis specially adapted to serving persons with disabilities should become an important part of the country's taxi industry.

According to British law, all taxis must install barrier-free equipment within the next decade. However, China has no law or regulations concerning this, which is insensitive to people with special needs.

He said the government should give policy support and related incentives to companies that develop or operate barrier-free taxis and to taxi drivers who use such vehicles.

Guo Zhenfu, deputy general manager of Dongfeng Motor Corp, said Chinese people have a tendency to ignore traffic regulations, so he proposed a draft to increase education among drivers and pedestrians.

He said that good traffic behavior is essential in modern society, but it cannot necessarily be written into law. Therefore, self-discipline is very important.

He suggested making traffic behavior a subject of driving tests as well as in school education.

Guo also laid out his vision for the future of urban transportation. He envisions that one day people will swipe a card to rent an all-electric car from their home community and drive it to work. Then, they will be able to charge it up at facilities available in their workplace, and after work, drive it back home.

He suggested the government should first promote alternative-energy vehicles in buses, taxis and city logistics fleets because these fleets have a high frequency of use.

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