The two northern cities of Dalian and Tianjin have joined the list of cities readying to impose car buying limits on its local populace. Both Dalian and Tianjin have suffered heavily from smog which has been blamed on increasing auto use, as well as heavy and light industrial pollution from factories in the vicinity.
The vice mayor of Tianjin Mr. Yi Hai Lin attended a recent CCTV television program focused on Chinese Politics where he mentioned that Tianjin Municipal Government is prepping policies that will restrict and control the growth of automotive sales in the Tianjin area. Vice mayor Yi says that the number of cars in the Tianjin area has exploded over the past two years which has led to difficult congestion issues as well as pollution problems, at the same time Yi says Tianjin will implement a round of policies aimed at growing the number of new energy vehicles on its roads. Yi did not clarify if Tianjin plans to limit car sales via license plate lotteries or implementing an auction system. Tianjin currently has over 2 million cars on its roads, whilst Dalian has around 1.2 million.
At the same time Dalian is also planning to limit car sales under the guise of controlling pollution, Liaoning provincial government has already approved Dalian plans to control car sales and pollution. With Dalian already gaining approval it seems that implementation will not be far behind.
The issue that both Tianjin and Dalian now face is a pre-new year panic buying of cars, the same scenario emerged in Beijing several years ago when Beijing announced it would limit car sales to 240,000 units per year before lowering it to 140,000 units per year in 2014. Chinese media are now commenting that Tianjin residents are now ‘buying cars as if they are buying fruit’