China wants more gas hogs but India wants fewer of them. At least that's the message one could take from recent news items emanating from the two countries.
Volvo's Chinese owers, Geely, who purchased Volvo from Ford this August for $1.5 billion, have now let it be known that they want to see Volvo producing more larger, luxury cars for the Chinese market. Volvo has been working towards the contrary, smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. The Geely comments came from Chairman Li Shufu in the state-owned Security Times. Volvo now has a dealer network in China covering 81 cities and sales have been soaring.
This in stark contrast to the situation in India, where the Indian Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, came out on the attack against German automakers Friday, saying that driving the big-engined BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes was "criminal."
“The luxurious growth of large-size vehicles like SUVs is really a growth of concern, use of vehicles like SUVs and BMW in countries like India is criminal,” he said at a UN function in New Delhi, according to news agency IANS.
The country should levy extra fees and mandatory fuel efficiency standards on these cars, the minister suggested.
"We cannot ask people to buy or not to buy a particular car. But through an effective fiscal policy, we can certainly have an impact," he said.
The obvious difference between these apparent positions is that the Chinese viewpoint comes from business, an automaker, who probably have a particular niche in mind for the Volvo brand, whereas the India viewpoint comes from the political side. Although, one presumes that the public assertions of Chinese business would be basically in line with government policy.