A DELEGATE to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing has accused some local governments of hindering the smooth development of China's car industry by placing unnecessary restrictions on the use of small, domestically produced cars. In a motion tabled at the CPPCC, Dong Weixian, a delegate from Tianjin, claimed that local government regulations enforced in Beijing, Shanghai and other big cities were employing discriminatory tactics against the mainland's domestic car manufacturers. Mr Dong, deputy head of the Tianjin Minicar Factory, claimed in his motion that recent alternate day driving restrictions imposed by the Beijing government discriminated against small cars while allowing larger luxury cars to travel unrestricted. 'Ninety per cent of the vehicles affected are small domestically produced cars, while luxury cars and nearly all imported cars are unaffected,' Mr Dong said. In Shanghai, the authorities had stipulated that only cars with an engine capacity of more than 1.6 litres could be used as taxis, thereby squeezing out small domestic cars from the market, he said. Mr Dong said such measures were out of line with international practice, which levied higher taxes on luxury and imported cars and encouraged the growth of small, economical cars. The motion, reported by the Economic Daily newspaper, claimed many local governments were preventing private citizens from buying cars despite central government directives encouraging the private sale of cars. The sector to suffer most because of these restrictions was the small, domestic car industry which produced more affordable vehicles, he said. The motion said local governments were not doing enough to fulfil requirements laid down by the central government to increase parking places, petrol stations and driving schools. Mr Dong said many local governments were deliberately restricting the number of parking places to prevent increased traffic in their cities. All these measures combined would have a serious effect on the domestic motor industry and prevent it from developing into the 'pillar industry' stipulated by the central government, he said. Analysts said that while Mr Dong had a valid argument in suggesting that makers of small cars were being discriminated against, they said giving free rein to the many small-scale producers in the country was not the best way to develop the motor industry. 'The general direction of China's automotive industry has been and should be the creation of a small number of major producers so as to create more effective economies of scale,' an industry expert in Beijing said. 'There are already far too many small-scale factories producing low-quality cars. The industry needs to be rationalised and these small-scale producers either merged into larger corporations or put out of business altogether,' he said. Other analysts said local governments often had no choice but to place restrictions on private car ownership because traffic had become congested in their cities. 'If you let everyone who wants to buy a car do so in Beijing or Shanghai, there would be gridlock overnight,' a transport analyst in the capital said.