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105 Business & Investing > Small Business & Entrepreneurship  
Personal Cars And China

The impact of the automotive industry on society is unlike that of any other industry. The automobile is not just a technology or mode of transportation; it is a fundamental determinant of the entire economy. In the United States, one of every six workers deals in some way with automobiles and trucks—making them, repairing them, driving them professionally, insuring them, licensing them, and building and maintaining highways for them. As for fuel, a steep rise in the price of gasoline seriously affects the entire U.S. economy, even causing a recession. Moreover, those nations that must import large quantities of oil find that their dependence has a telling effect on their balance of payments and creates potentially problematic relationships with the countries that produce oil, to the extent that dependence on foreign oil is an element of national security. Any nation's effort to build an automotive industry is, then, about far more than manufacturing cars and providing people with greater mobility. It is about changing the entire economic and employment structure of the nation.

China has one of the fastest-growing fleet of automobiles in the world. In 2001 its motor vehicles totaled 18 million, including 5 million cars, of which 600,000 were produced in 2000. If China's number of motor ve-

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 No. 147
 Posted on 7 June, 2006
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