Steve and Rachel are returning from Montreal to the UK via Japan and China.
You can follow their progress here... 

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

1:27 AM - Car Question - Steve

Since everybody was so helpful with Rachel's Ube query, I thought I might ask something that I've been wondering since we arrived here. As soon as we got off the bus we remarked on how almost every other car here seemed to be a shiny new black Audi or Volkswagen. This suprised us because these are not cheap cars, so why should they be the most common sight on the road after taxis? This afternoon I carried out some scientific research by standing at a busy road junction near Tian'anmen Square.In a 10 minute period I counted no less than 27 current model black Audi A6's and A8's. And I was only counting one of the four directions of traffic, and didn't include black VW Passats which look very similar and are almost equally common.

I have a theory about them being standard Communist Party issue, as they often look to have gloved drivers in the front with passengers in the back. Everybody else thinks that's a daft idea. Rachel's theory is that they must be some kind of posh taxi. I asked the guy at the desk in the hostel and he didn't know, although he said he wanted one. Maybe they are just very good at marketing them here? Anybody have any light to shed on this important debate?


Rembis said...

So, Steve and Rachel, you were befuddled by the abnormally high frequency of Black Audis and VW cars in the Shanghai...well, according to my (chinese) sources (Latimer), both those companies have manufacturers in the area. By the same token, I saw millions of new VWs in Mexico, because I was in the town where they make them. The interesting thing about these Audis you saw, is that not only are they Made In China, but they are MADE IN CHINA...i.e. much lower quality and standards than what you'd find in an Audi elsewhere...no seatbelts, smaller engine, lower quality materials, etc...quite amusing, really...I don't know why they're all black, maybe the plant only bought one paint can...  

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