BEIJING -- Automakers in China need to become more environmentally sensitive and efficient to help sustain the growing market, warned Miao Wei, president of Dongfeng Motor Corp., Thursday at the Automotive News China Congress.
Miao cited as his principle concerns a potential shortage of fuel, increasing levels of air pollution and growing traffic snarls.
To achieve sustainable development, "China's automobile industry must follow a new development route," he said.
China consumed 250 million tons of petroleum in 2003, becoming the second largest petroleum-consuming country in the world, Wei said. Autos consumed about a third of that total.
Meanwhile, China has 3.3 billion tons of petroleum reserved, he said, adding that consumption can last for 10 years at most. "Therefore, a shortage of petroleum would certainly have a very big impact on China's auto industry and the economic development," he said.
Traffic has created two problems, Miao said. First, it is a key contributor to the growing air pollution problem in China.
Also, city infrastructure hasn't kept up with auto sales, creating jams.
The average of speed of a public bus is only 6 mph, equal to the speed of a bicycle, Miao said. The saturation rate on a main city road in China is about 70 percent and as high as 95 percent at rush hour.
"There are some people saying, 'The automobile equals a mobile obstacle,' " Miao said.
Miao made proposals on sustainable development for the Chinese automobile industry: