Too Many Cars in America, Record Car Sales in China

Perhaps the best way to view the contrast between the coronavirus response in China versus that of the United States is what is going on with cars.

Many people in the auto industry would have told you last year that we had hit "Peak Car" in 2017. In fact, my summer EMBA courses at Tongji University have been dominated by Shanghai car sales refugees. 2018 were down 3%. 2019 another 8%.

But thanks to the preference for social distancing and an accompanying disapproval of car sharing services like DiDi, along with some good old-fashioned American-style incentives, April vehicle sales in China were up a stunning 4.4%, the first positive showing in this figure in 21 months!

That's quite a contrast to the state of the automotive industry in America, where Southern California is struggling to find places to put the things. Sports stadiums, ports and other unused large parking lots now appear as if they are hosting massive sellouts.


Rental cars, leased vehicles, unsold newly delivered cars, used cars no one is interested in... all of them are just stuck in parking lots. The pictures you'll find in this LA Times article are just amazing.

Let's keep these numbers in mind as a useful statistic moving forward in the growing US-PRC divide.

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This is just a temporary situation. ;)