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People Crazy for Cars

Excited people filled the car exhibition at the Beijing International Fair concluded last week.

"I long to drive my own car for my family. We need not to worry about sunshine and rain pouring. The diameter of life has been extended along the highway," said Mr. Chen, who was wandering around the fair.

The car, a product of the Industrial Revolution, was a remarkable symbol of the 20th century. When people marvel at the one-hundred year history of cars, they discover that only the prestigious have enjoyed owning cars in this populous nation. However, owning family cars will turn into reality for most Chinese people in the 21st century.

The Shanghai Buick Sail, Tianjin Toyota Platz and Shanghai Volkswagen Polo have just appeared on the market. In the next three years, there will be another 15 new types of car.

An investigation by the China Consumers Association showed that in the next five years, 32 percent of consumers intend to buy cars. The result indicates there will be a large increase in the number of private cars in China in the first ten years of the new century.

Experts said that China will be the last and the largest potential car market. Last year, the Chinese government formally encouraged private car ownership, which resulted in a more open policy for ordinary Chinese people.

For a long time,the taxation on cars has bothered Chinese, limiting their purchasing enthusiasm.

Nowadays, car consumption plays a vital role in stimulating the domestic economy, increasing revenue, creating job opportunities and improving people's lives. The government agreed on the policy of encouraging car ownership, including reducing car related fees and improving road conditions.

The policy has given rise to the boom in the number of licensed drivers, which has increased the travel speed of millions. Crazy is a vivid description of these people.

The Buic Sail car,which costs a little more than 100,000 yuan, has again stimulated the competitive market. Some 3,000 orders were received during a five-day exhibition in February. Experts said, the Sail has turned the price war into a quality war.

"Family cars do not equal cheapness. Safety, comfort and environment-friendly will be even more important," said Mr. Tang, who is planning to buy a 150,000 yuan car to replace his old 80,000 yuan car.

(Eastday.com 04/11/2001)

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