EIGHT CHINESE CITIES MAY RESTRICT AUTO SALES
Eight cities in China are likely to follow Beijing's example and restrict the sale of new vehicles, according to an official at the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The group warned that restrictions could cut sales by 400,000 vehicles, roughly two percent of sales in 2012. The measures would be part of China's overall efforts to control air pollution. Kiyotaka Ise, president of Toyota's Lexus brand, said that he would welcome measures that included incentives for hybrid cars. "Given the size of the market, 2 percent is a lot," he said. "If the goal is to improve air quality there could be a business opportunity for hybrid cars. Perhaps there is a possibility that low-polluting hybrids could be exempt from restrictions." Beijing, Shanghai, Guiyang, and Guangzhou already restrict vehicles by using auctions and lotteries to sell a limited number of license plates. However, analysts have said the prediction may be an exaggeration designed to lobby the government against such changes. "I don't think eight more cities will suddenly implement curbs at the same time, especially when China's economy is facing downward pressure and the central government is encouraging domestic consumption." said Wu Wenzhao, analyst at Sinolink Securities. For the full story, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/07/11/us-china-autos-idUKBRE96A06E20130711.