7 years 10 months ago - 7 years 10 months ago#21by Kekys
Whether you buy from an individual or a second hand car dealer, buying a second hand car in Beijing is for the most part like buying a used car in other parts of the world.
Basically, you need to protect yourself. Inspect the car you’re interested in. Bring along a mechanic or at least someone who knows about cars if you can. And then bargain. If you’re buying from a second hand car dealer, most will say they’ll pay the transfer of ownership fee charged by the government for you. You should still be able to bargain off more, however. You should be able to cut about 10% off their asking price.
When buying a used car in Beijing, where things differ from other parts of the world is how you actually transfer the ownership of the car you have agreed to buy.
Those steps are outlined below.
Transferring ownership when buying from an individual:
Zoe has agreed to buy Alf’s Honda Accord. What happens next?
(1) Alf and Zoe need to gather the required documents for transferring the ownership of a used car.
(A) ID Card or Passport and 1 copy
(D) Most recent Bill of Sale and 1 copy
(C) Current Certificate of Title (a white paper card that fits in your wallet) and 1 copy
(D) Current Certificate of Registration (a white paper card that fits in your wallet) and 1 copy
(A) ID Card or Passport and 1 copy
(2) Alf and Zoe need to go together, with the Accord, to a vehicle management office. These offices are part of the Beijing Transportation Bureau and handle the transfer of ownerships of used cars. There’s one at the Beijing Transportation Bureau itself, and one at the Beijing Secondhand Auto Market.
(3) Once at a vehicle management office, Alf and Zoe fill out an application for transfer of ownership, and then submit it along with the documents listed above.
(4) Alf and Zoe then wait while the vehicle management office processes the application. The office will check the Accord for outstanding tickets and violations. The office will send one of its used car assessors to assign a price to the Accord.
Note: The price a used car assessor assigns is only used to determine the fee a vehicle management office will charge for its services (2.5% of the assessor’s price). It is not necessarily a fair market value, and should not impact upon previous price agreements.
(5) After the vehicle management office receives the assessor’s price, they will prepare a sales contract. Alf and Zoe then sign the contract.
(6) Zoe can pay Alf at this point. And Alf can hand over the Accord. Alf is now free to leave. Zoe will need to wait a little longer while the vehicle management office prepares a new Certificate of Title and a new Certificate of Registration in his name.
(7) When the vehicle management office has finished transferring the ownership of the Accord from Alf’s into Zoe’s name, they will call Zoe to a window to pick up his new Certificate of Title, Certificate of Registration, and Bill of Sale. At this point Zoe will need to pay the service charge. Zoe can now drive home in his Accord.
Transferring ownership when buying from a used car dealership:
This is a much simpler process. Just provide the used car dealership with your ID Card or Passport. The dealership will handle obtaining your Certificate of Title, Certificate of Registration, and Bill of Sale. Keep in mind the dealership has probably included the vehicle management office’s service fee in the price of the used car.
Beijing, this drizzly autumn morning, looks like the Beijing I've seen in pictures and movies. A traffic light changes, and cars begin to creep forward, then get swarmed by bicycles. Hundreds of bicycles. Bicycles ridden by middle-aged men in suits; bicycles pedaled by young women carrying schoolbooks in pink plastic rucksacks; bicycles piloted by senior citizens, some wearing smog masks, some carrying tiny dogs in their baskets. I watch one elderly rider, his saddle covered by a grocery bag, glance downward as he lights a smoke, his cadence never faltering.
I'm standing atop a pedestrian bridge that overlooks Beijing's second ring road, a bulging rampart around the most frenzied part of this city of 15 million. This is the way it should be, I think. There's no municipality on earth that accommodates, values and relies on bikes more than the Chinese capital.
Then the fantasy dissolves. What I'm viewing is just a single frame in an endless filmstrip of human locomotion. I look around and see dozens of cranes, each signaling the construction of a new skyscraper--part of the most rapid urban expansion in history. Beijing has changed and grown more in the past decade than it had in the previous 700 years, when it became the capital of a unified China in the 13th century. I see a few splashes of green, pocket-size parks where residents practice tai chi routines, newspaper vendors hawk their goods and office workers lug lunch boxes and briefcases. But mostly, I see circulation. Eleven bus stops are visible from where I stand, a dozen pedestrian overpasses, eight intersecting avenues, more than 50 traffic lights and pavement that's been widened and widened again until it now spans 10 lanes, yet is still choked to the horizon with cars.
Through it all, cyclists roll forward, as if unstoppable. There are more than 10 million bicycles in Beijing, more than any other city in any other country. Here, the bicycle is not a symbol of fitness or of the user's environmental nobility. Riders use the two-wheeler as it was originally, and perhaps best, conceived: as a simple working machine. After 10 minutes of watching, I see that the cars below me haven't gained 10 feet. But the panorama is deceiving. In Beijing, the bicycle is losing the race for its life.
Just as Detroit is America's automotive heart, so is Tianjin China's bicycle city. Every year, factories worldwide produce 100 million new bicycles. One-quarter of those are made in Tianjin. As I step off the train at the city's main station--the ride from Beijing takes just over an hour--I'm surprised at how different this city of five million looks from the one I just left. Central Tianjin looks less like the China you imagine, and more like late-19th century Europe. Apartment houses are adorned with crafted masonry; the schools and old churches appear vaguely Continental. The city is just a few miles from the world's largest artificial harbor, and it has always attracted foreigners. More than a century ago, British and German merchants filled Tianjin with reminders of home such as ornate architecture and street lighting, chamber quartets, spring mattresses--and bicycles.
At first, according to Amir Moghaddass Esfehani, who detailed the origins of China's bicycle culture in the 2003 issue of Cycle History, riding was an activity for the leisure class: the Western-emulating journalists, officials and "sons of wealthy families." Even the Chinese word for bicycles was borrowed. Early on, bikes were called weilouxibeida, a soundalike for "velocipede." (The modern term is zixingche, which translates as "self-moving vehicle.") Bikes slowly spread to other Chinese cities, primarily used as vehicles for deliverymen, police officers and--during World War II--smugglers and spies. In 1949, Communists, led by Mao Zedong, took control of the country. Revolutionary China was a tightly controlled and regimented society. Political beliefs, education, where people lived, what jobs they held and the amounts of goods produced by factories and farms were all predetermined, centrally planned. The two-wheeled vehicle was the approved form of transport, and the nation that overthrew 10 centuries of imperial rule became zixingche da guo, the Kingdom of Bicycles.
I find a cab and take a 20-minute ride to the industrial outskirts of Tianjin. The old-fashioned buildings give way to low factories, built on landfill and tidal plains. We turn off the main highway and stop at a complex of squat concrete and corrugated-metal structures. An emblem looms over the factory, and me: a pair of letters, topped by a stylized bird. This is the home of the bike that has pushed forward not only billions of people, but also history itself. The initials read FP. The bird represents concord and harmony. The bike--the bike, really--is the Flying Pigeon, the bicycle I have come here to ride, and perhaps to understand.
Flying pigeons have never been imported into the United States, save for a handful that showed up in Berkeley, California, a few years ago, where they were sold as proletarian chic. But if you've seen pictures of cycling in China, you've likely seen a Fei Gi (Mandarin for Flying Dove, which--most likely through a mistranslation--ended up containing the peaceful symbol's urban counterpart). Starting just weeks after the revolution, and through the 1990s, the Flying Pigeon was the single most popular mechanized vehicle on the planet, becoming so ubiquitous that Deng Xiaoping--the post-Mao leader who launched China's economic reforms in the 1970s--defined prosperity as a "Pigeon in every household."
I cross a small bridge, passing underneath a carved-dragon archway. The Flying Pigeon complex is spartan. Piles of silver rims, handlebars and frame parts wait to be assembled. No loading docks feed dozens of container trucks; there's just a single lorry stacked with unboxed bikes, wrapped in plastic.
The classic Flying Pigeon is the PA-02, an indestructible, singlespeed colossus with 28-inch wheels, fenders, a fully covered chain, a rear rack and push-rod brakes. (A handlebar lever connects directly to the brake pads via a thin shaft of steel; there's no leverage, no adjustability and very little stopping power.) Like Ford's Model T, any color you want is available, as long as you want black.
Zhao Xue Jie, the factory's deputy manager, began as an engineer at Flying Pigeon 21 years ago. Like most of his generation, he was chosen by his career rather than the other way around, but even so, Zhao is not unappreciative. He understands the assignment's prestige. The bike is so ingrained in Chinese culture that it remains part of an important tradition known as san zhuan yi xiang, or "three rounds and a sound." The term refers to the four items a husband traditionally supplied to his bride: The "rounds" are the face of a watch, the spindle of a sewing machine and the wheels of a bicycle, and the "sound" represents a transistor radio. "With these," Zhao says, "you'd start a life together."
Bikes weren't just part of social ritual. Through much of the 20th century, China--more than the European countries typically held up as examples of bike-oriented public policy--had the most reliable and extensive two-wheel transit system on earth. (Such grand policies--both good and bad--are much easier to impose in a closed, centrally managed society.) The command economy mandated a minimum annual production of 25 million bikes, a number that seems low until you consider that a single bike was meant to last a lifetime. Upgrade fever isn't possible in a world where there's only one bike to buy.
Owning a bike was not considered a basic right. Quotas were enforced, community by community, and a special permit was needed to buy or operate a Flying Pigeon or one of its regional and less-ubiquitous siblings, a Forever or Phoenix. The licensing system helped enforce social order, because stripping away the right to pedal meant disaster for a family. Bikes were such a given in the Chinese bureaucracy that they were the final consumer product to be detached from the permit system--in the 1990s.
For most of the Communist era, the price of a Flying Pigeon was 150 yuan, about two months' salary, with a waiting list that stretched into years. There's a well-known story that a farmer once offered to trade his entire crop to speed up delivery of his Pigeon.
Today, the PA-02 fetches about 240 yuan, the equivalent of $30. The Tianjin factory produces about 800,000 bikes yearly, which sounds like a lot until you compare the figure with the 10,000 bikes built each day during the 1970s and 1980s when the plant, then in downtown Tianjin, employed 15,000 workers and labored 24 hours a day.
Pigeon's current home, built in 1998, is more modern--just 600 workers produce the bikes, using automated equipment--but it still seems decades behind China's streamlined facilities that build bikes for Western consumers. Pigeon frames are welded piecemeal; wheels are built on an assembly line, with spokes first laced to hubs, then threaded to rims. In the paint room, workers hand-spray rough welds with coatings of enamel; the bikes move on conveyors similar to the ones that shuttle freshly pressed clothing at the dry cleaner.
"It isn't a Pigeon until it's black," Zhao tells me, but the truth is that the company now makes 40 models, most of which look more like contemporary mountain or city bikes, in dozens of colors. Though the bikes are a couple of notches below what you'd find at a Wal-Mart, they're stylish enough to sell well throughout Southeast and Central Asia. You can even buy a Flying Pigeon mountain bike in Kabul, if you're passing through.
But despite declining domestic sales, the Flying Pigeon remains China's bike, if only because much of the brand's existing rolling stock is still in service. The government estimates that a half-billion bikes are in use throughout China, many handed down through generations. The Pigeon is one of the few �nostalgia-��inducing artifacts of China's postrevolutionary era, which was darkened by the Cultural Revolution and intense poverty. In 1994, the government named it a "national key trademark brand under protection," enshrining it the way we do Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and Civil War battlefields.
"Everybody needed a Pigeon," Zhao says.
"Like cars?" I ask.
Zhao shakes his head no, then replies, "Like rice."
<!--page-break--> Back in Beijing, I'm determined to spend a couple of days on a Pigeon. I could easily afford a new one, but Zoe Zuo, my translator, advises against it, telling me that she holds the "world record for stolen bikes," with 10 pilfered during her four years at Beijing University. Nearly every rider I spoke to had also been caught in the city's epidemic of bike heists.
"I lost two before I gave up," says Ed Bishop, an American who works in the Beijing office of an international advertising agency. "After the first time, you look for the cheapest bike you can get."
Beijing's shadow bike market is big business. In 2006, more than 2,000 bike thieves were arrested by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security, including 56 members of a single gang that operated a permanent street-side shop in the city's Haidian district. The most coveted steal is an electric-assist bike, which sells for about $300 new, $100 hot. A Giant mountain bike can fetch $50. Supply and demand kicks in with the Flying Pigeon. The classic bike nets 40 yuan--just $5. So many bikes are stolen, then resold, that the local market for new bikes has been gutted, leading many shops to depend on largely on used models of dubious provenance. Bishop puts it simply: "Everybody knows it makes no sense to buy a new bike."
I was able to borrow a well-worn Flying Pigeon after promising I'd replace it if it got snatched. I'd figured riding in Beijing wouldn't be that different than navigating New York or San Francisco. But there's a huge difference. Urban riding in the United States is an exercise in individuality. If you want to go fast, you go fast. If your style is to weave in and out of traffic, scream at drivers for real and imagined offenses, or jump curbs and run red lights, you can do that. Not in Beijing. As soon as you set out, you're no longer one biker. You become a single cell in a clattering, slow-moving organism.
The relaxed speeds impose order; each bike operates inches from the next, as distinctly choreographed as a Tour de France paceline. The hardest part is turning. Some of Beijing's bike lanes are 15 feet wide, and if you don't anticipate your next move, working your way through the pack well in advance, you can't get across the lane, and you miss the exit.
Once I got past the surprise, I enjoyed the slow pace, the feeling that I was part of something much larger. The Pigeon is perfect for this type of riding. The bike's tonnage moderates speed; the large wheels and heavy tires fill potholes. Beijing is mostly flat, so there are no climbs to hump these behemoths over, and no descents to challenge the meager brakes.
I pedaled by the Forbidden City, the majestic compound that housed Chinese emperors for more than 500 years. The vast structure sits at Beijing's geographic center; the city grew around it in expanding rings, like an ancient tree. Now Beijing is growing upward--with soaring office and condo developments bearing names like Vancouver Forest and Upper East Side--and out, as new construction for both the 2008 Olympics and for the additional 10 million people expected to relocate here by 2025 keeps expanding city limits. At least five additional megafreeway ring roads, each of 12 lanes or more, are under construction, adding to the four that already exist.
In order to populate these new areas and relieve the pressure on Beijing's downtown, city planners have mandated an unprecedented exodus. More than 1 million people currently living in the city center will be relocated beyond the fourth ring, joining newcomers residing in 10 planned satellite cities, all built from scratch. By reducing population at the core, officials hope, traffic conditions and air quality will improve. One member of the Beijing planning commission says the future will hold "a garden city with blue sky and clean air." It is an optimistic view: all those people, living so far away, enjoying new prosperity.
But they're going to want cars.
"The future will hold fewer bicycles, and more cars," says Frank Ge. I'm sitting with him in the Chang An club, one of the city's elite business gathering places, on the upper floors of a shiny new office tower. Ge is a management and transportation consultant. His business partner is a former director of Bentley China, the posh British carmaker, which began selling here in 2003; the preferred model among the newly emerged ultrawealthy in Beijing and Shanghai is the Arnage RL sedan, which sells for the equivalent of 20,000 Flying Pigeons.
Luxury cars are marketed as fashion items in Beijing. The showpiece of the the Oriental Plaza mall--the city's trendiest shopping site--is the Volkswagen Forum boutique, just a few yards from a Givenchy fragrance shop.
But China's most intense automotive cravings aren't at the high end. Urban China's per-person buying power has just passed the $4,000 annual-income threshold that carmakers view as the tipping point for mass consumption. The most popular car in China is the $4,600 Xiali, by the huge FAW auto conglomerate, which also manufactures the country's Toyota and VW models, as well the traditional Red Flag brand. (Like the Pigeon, the Xiali is built in Tianjin.)
"A car is opportunity," Ge says. "Families can go to the country, they can go on trips, they can do things."
China isn't China. It is America, just after World War II, when we moved to the suburbs, loading televisions and hi-fi units and groceries into our station wagons. In our culture then--and in China now--the car isn't just transportation. It's a foundation upon which a middle class is built. Two decades ago, when Ge's father purchased a television, it had to be hauled home, 20 miles, by bicycle rickshaw. Today, a high-definition plasma fits handily in the back of a Xiali, alongside the flat-packed console table from the Ikea that just opened along the fourth ring road.
As with China's economic growth, the country's replay of our automotive odyssey has moved rapidly, with bloody side effects. The World Health Organization says that China's roads are the most dangerous a human can travel, with more than 250,000 traffic deaths annually--a rate 20 times higher than in the United States. As you might guess, urban cyclists are being slaughtered. Beijing officials tallied 30,000 accidents involving cars and cyclists in 2004, with 10,000 injuries and 1,000 deaths. Officials are cracking down on dangerous drivers--about a third of Chinese motorists are unlicensed--but bike riders and pedestrians are also shouldering the blame. Citing nonautomotive participants as a cause of accidents, Shanghai officials banned cyclists from downtown in 2003. A 2002 report by the Beijing Traffic Development Research Center called for the "continuous reduction of bicycles and other inferior forms of transport from their current overly high proportion."
How fast is China's new car market growing? Just about any statistic will do: There were one million cars in China in 1990, there are 15 million today, and 100 million are projected within two decades. One thousand new cars are purchased every day in Beijing, compared with 350 in Southern California. Bike ownership is decreasing. In 1990, there were 162 bikes for every 100 urban families in China. Today, that ratio is nearly even.
My pigeon took me to Tiananmen Square, the Great Hall of the People and Mao's tomb. Diagonally across the street from the imposing mausoleum, where visitors line up to see the late leader's embalmed body, I stepped into what would turn out to be the most telling bit of sightseeing during my China trip. The Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall is four stories of futurism, a sleek blueprint that shows how the city will compress a hundred years of industrial development--the amount of time it took Western cities to grow--into a quarter-century. I walked through full-size mock-ups of the new apartments being constructed for newcomers, and watched a 3D movie that digitally simulated a walk through Beijing's upcoming iteration. But the future of the city was most pointedly displayed on the second floor, where a tennis-court-sized photomosaic, made up of 1,000 backlit floor tiles, features an aerial snapshot of the city, seamlessly integrated with a lifelike projection of the city beyond today's ring roads. Atop the display sits an architectural model of Olympic Beijing, in building-by-building detail. Existing elements of today's metropolis are easy to spot--the historic sites, the car-selling shopping mall, even my hotel--along with projected ones, including a fully realized miniature of the still-under-construction China Central Television building, whose tilted twin towers will eventually soar 750 feet above downtown.
The model is so huge that it is best viewed from a mezzanine above, with binoculars provided by the museum. The perspective you get is impossible to achieve when you're out in the city itself, surrounded by knots of people, bikes and cars. From the mezzanine, I could understand, for the first time, that the ring roads were built less for navigation than for containment. And it's equally clear that, as with the constantly upward revisions that estimate Beijing's economic, automotive, pollution and population figures, each attempt at containing the containment was never quite enough.
But it's the exquisite detail of the model that makes it most predictive. There is real glass in the tiny building windows. The red walls of the shrunken Imperial palaces are hand-painted. Through the binoculars, it is easy to make out perfectly crafted miniatures of parks, plazas, sidewalks, subway stations, cars and buses. I don't see any bicycles.
What will happen to the flying pigeons, to the 10 million bikes in Beijing, to the 500 million scattered throughout this huge nation? The fall semester is just beginning at Beijing University, and the campus is filled with students. Bikes crowd along pathways and into massive garages containing row after row of dusty beaters. The students with the bewildered looks are the ones who've forgotten where they parked.
Zoe leads me to a small cafeteria. A trio of students crowds around a laptop computer, watching as a slide show dissolves across the screen. The images are of bike riders, smiling, wearing matching T-shirts, pedaling the countryside. For the past decade, the Beijing University Bike Club has been doing something very few in this nation of cyclists have even imagined: pedaling for fun. The bike club is the school's largest extracurricular organization. During the academic year, members train for a much-anticipated summer jaunt. The tours are basic, but if two-wheeled authenticity is measured not by heart rate monitors or mileage logs, but by sheer pleasure, then the university riders are as genuine as any rider I've ever encountered. "It feels so good," says Ren Xuan, a 20-year-old political science major, "not to know about the future, not to know where you will sleep or eat. Every day is about living simply, and getting to know people."
Riding bikes for fun is a notion that has only begun to gain traction in China. Giant and Trek have opened several boutique shops in Beijing. There's not a Flying Pigeon in sight at the gleaming outlet in the Haidian district; they're at the stolen bike market, not far from here. This is pure, familiar bike lust, at prices that are generally half those in the United States.
In the shop's service area, I introduce myself to a wiry young man. He shakes my hand and shows me his bike, a full suspension Giant. Wang Jia Wei is a Beijing mountain biker.
An hour later, after a lunch stop at McDonald's, I'm looking down at the city's skyline. I've followed Wang and four of his buddies to some western hills where they navigate an assortment of narrow trails, ledges and bumpy power-line cuts.
"Are you the first to ride mountain bikes in Beijing?" I ask.
Wang laughs: "Oh, no. This is really popular!"
That's a surprise. How many riders are there?
"A lot," Wang says, performing a quick mental tally: "About 40."
Bike tourists and mountain bikers constitute so tiny a fraction of Beijing's pedal armada that statistically they barely exist. But they're China's bicycle future: fun instead of transit. Is it a worthy trade-off? The answer may not matter. Today's Beijing may remain a place where bicycles cover distances faster than any other mode of transport, but by the time the final ring road (in this round of expansion) is completed, distances between home and work will likely be too great for such journeys.
I don't think the Flying Pigeon is coming back. Does that make it fair or possible to condemn China's automotive appetites? After all, such aspirations are an American invention. Over the past 100 years, cities in the United States progressed in such a way that many actively shun pedestrians and are nonnavigable for all but the most committed cyclists. For China, that process may take less than two decades. That's not a lot of time. There's hope, because the transformation is still at the beginning. There's hope because the understanding that a bike is transportation still thrives in China. Beijing could be the metropolis that saves the bicycle--and survives the automobile.
The past year was a good year--maybe the first good year in a long time--for the Pigeon. In June, 200,000 Beijing residents pledged to reduce car usage and walk or pedal to work. A police crackdown put thefts on the decline. China's deputy minister of construction ordered cities that had eliminated bike lanes to restore them. Shanghai slightly loosened the bicycle ban.
But the best news came on September 28, 2006, a few days before the country's national holidays. A young couple got married in Beijing, and in a giddy moment that made nationwide headlines, abandoned the traditional limousine to ride a Flying Pigeon to the reception. The bride, in her wedding gown, arranged herself sidesaddle on the bike's rear rack while the groom pedaled.
"This is the way we like it," the bride told the China Daily. "I will never regret this."
In cases where adjusters have that package thing received from an attorney with legal documents, pictures and also other documents and etc. How long does it normally state in the letter to respond? Do adjusters really reply by or on the date? Whenever they respond by phone, mail, letter or fax?
Just lately noticed this message board. There does exist so much knowledge on this great site, I am a very little overloaded. My own target or just what I'm seeking out of this community forum is to understand and to make new contacts. I am just thinking where must i start out on that online community. I'm sorry regarding my terrible english, but I'm german.