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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rural Vehicles in China: Appropriate Policy for Appropriate Technology


Over 3 million Chinese Rural Vehicles (CRVs) were produced in China in 2002, three times that of conventional passenger cars. Yet these smaller, simpler, indigenous vehicles are virtually unknown outside China. The CRV industry is unusual in that it evolved largely outside the control of government regulation and policy, using local technology and resources. CRVs now consume one fourth of the diesel fuel in China and play an important role in rural development. This paper is the first comprehensive assessment (in English or Chinese) of these vehicles and this remarkable industry. This study documents and analyzes vehicle technology, government policy, environmental impacts, market demand, and industry dynamics. We find that increasing government regulation (mostly for emissions and safety) is having profound effects on the industry, with uncertain implications for the sales and globalization of rural vehicle technology.

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