China Overtakes the U.S., Japan As World's Number One In Vehicle Sales

beijing car bicycle image

(Images from Sydsvenskan/AP and

China passed Japan to become the world's second-biggest auto market in 2006. And in January, 2009, China overtook the U.S. of A. in monthly vehicle sales in January for the first time ever:

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Tuesday that 735,000 vehicles were sold in China in January. That surpasses the 656,976 vehicles sold in the U.S. the same month.

Communist, capitalist madness. Watch the Beijing Bicycle trailer after the jump:

AP notes that in China, vehicle sales fell 14.4 percent from a monthly record 860,000 in January 2008. Meanwhile, U.S. sales tumbled 37 percent in January to a 26-year low.

AP: China passes U.S. monthly auto sales

Have you seen Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress a film set in the early 1970's during the later stages of China's Cultural Revolution?

It is perhaps difficult to imagine that this is a story set just a generation ago. Young kids were required to "perform arduous manual labor along with locals while under the supervision of the zealous village headman." No cars anywhere, except the occasional lorry. The kids, however, love music and save a precious violin from destruction by claiming a Mozart lieder is actually a celebration of Chairman Mao.

Or how about Beijing Bicycle, the story of a seventeen-year-old country boy who comes to the big city determined to make it. He soon finds a job as a bike messenger in which he gets a small percentage of each delivery, working hard to build up enough credit to eventually own the bike for himself (but, it is promptly stolen): "Cinematographer Lui Jie depicts a very different China, one that is filled with dangerous, meandering alleys and frightening poverty."

"With this masterful, flawless film, [Wang] emerges in the front ranks of China's now numerous,
world-renowned filmmakers." -- Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Meanwhile, Seoul, the capital of South Korea is taking measures against global warming and responding to the high prices of gas by constructing more bicycle-only lanes throughout the city. Something for Beijing to learn from!

More Bicycles in China!
Planet-friendly Love in China: A Bike Wedding
During Public Transit Week, China Goes Carfree
Pollution in China is Worse Than Ever, Citizens Say

Brought to you by Martin Frid at

Related Content on