There's One Law Keeping Pickup Trucks From Getting Popular In China

Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Beijing's 2003 Road Traffic Safety Law granted local governments the prerogative of whether or not to allow pickup trucks on their streets. All they have to do is classify them as commercial vehicles, and bar them from entering. Interestingly many did, nipping a potential Chinese truck market in the bud.

Automotive News China's Yang Jian laments the stifling of truck sales. He says vans are typically allowed to roam free, registered as passenger vehicles, while Chinese automakers could only sell about a quarter-million pickup trucks in the first half of 2014... "less than 2 percent of total vehicle sales... Through July of this year, pickup sales dropped 4 percent as China's overall light-vehicle sales increased 8 percent."


Here in the US, consumers had bought over 1 million pickups in the same amount of time.

Jian posits that 16 of China's automakers "can build pickups with decent quality," but while they managing to do business exporting vehicles to Europe, the Middle East, and Thailand, the domestic truck producers of the People's Republic won't be able to thrive until something changes about the way pickups are legislated.


I haven't been to China or seen any of its pickup trucks in action, but what we have seen from afar doesn't really support the thesis of a "high quality" domestic truck market in the Far East. The Chinese government doesn't seem to care for their own countries trucks either... the most pickups I've seen in People's Republic livery are American-built Fords.


With that in mind, it might not be China's domestic automakers to push hard for an amendment to the 2003 Road Traffic Safety Law, but foreign business interests who want to sell trucks in the rapidly-expanding Asian auto market.

Image by the author, graphic from Vin Crosbie/Flickr, and order_242/Flickr

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