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White 8 (2:33)
Topic(s): Auto Industry / Environment / Government
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I think that, I mean, the positive way to look at what's going on in China when it comes to cars is this: the Chinese have an opportunity to run, to run to the end game rather than simply marching through each of the, sort of, the mistakes and past each goal post of stupidity that the car industry in the United States reached as it was developing, you know, from the early part of the twentieth century on. I mean, they're already at California in 1972 in Shanghai in terms of pollution and congestion. Well, you know, do they need to wait 15 or 20 years to kind of get to where, where we are now with that? Well, no, I mean, they could start, and they're, they could start saying, "Look, we need the technology today that's going to clean this up."

The big problem, I think, in China, is one, you know, they're kind of wondering who's going to pay for this. They're as reluctant to ask their consumers to shoulder the full burden of this cost as anyone else. Two, there's a hundred car companies in China. There's a car company in almost any big city or province. I mean, it's very much sort of the situation in the United States early in the 20th century. I think there's a great reluctance on the part of the Chinese government to simply create a situation where these companies have to go out of business tomorrow. There's a lot of people involved, it's not good for business.

I think they want to try to make an orderly transition to a little bit more consolidated industry with players that can, that can invest in the kind of technology to avoid the country choking on smog. I think it's, the jury is out. I don't know that, I don't know that it's responsible, certainly for the major global car makers, to say, "Oh, you know, we'll just ship, you know, 1971 style technology to China because that's all they want." And in fact, that's not at all what you hear. I think they, they recognize that China could be the place that allows advanced technology to take off because you know, in their dreams the Chinese government says, "Look, we're going to subsidize this stuff because we don't want to go through all the same mistakes and we don't want to be blamed for, you know, the ice caps melting. And we don't want our people to choke."

I mean, literally, the smog in these big Chinese cities is unbelievable. And it's only getting worse. And you know, it's not just Western journalists who notice this stuff, the Chinese government knows it perfectly well. And they want to try to have a solution and they're pushing on the, they're pushing the companies to come to them with their best technology to do it. So we'll see.

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