The Wall Street Journal reports:
As more Chinese cities propose license-plate lotteries and other ways of limiting the number of cars on the road, consumers are responding by buying more expensive automobiles with bigger engines.
In Shanghai, one of four major Chinese cities with policies designed to reduce car purchases to ease pollution and traffic congestion, between 9,000 and 10,000 plates are auctioned monthly, fetching an average of 82,000 yuan ($13,400) so far this year…
“Putting the pricey plate on a more expensive car makes sense,” said Mr. Fu. As scarcer plates raise the cost of owning a car, shoppers can rationalize paying more for their cars and believe the restrictions may limit them from trading up later, say auto dealers and analysts.
In addition to Shanghai, the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou and Guiyang now have policies to reduce car purchases and as many as eight other cities are likely to follow, say industry executives. The result is first-time car buyers are skipping less expensive models, usually Chinese brands.