Chinese Car Dealers Face Unexpected Obstacle

On June 30, 2012 at 9pm, the municipal government in Guangzhou, China declared that new vehicle registrations for the month of July would be suspended, effective at midnight. This decision was made in an effort to limit congestion and pollution problems and to keep the number of new registrations capped at half of the total number for 2011. In a panic, dealerships reopened their doors for the three remaining hours of allowable new vehicle sales. Consumers swarmed the dealerships and hundreds of vehicles for sold.

In most cases, this sudden increase in demand would be a dealership’s dream come true. Unfortunately, these registration restrictions will create massive obstacles for the dealerships. There are nearly 10 and a half million residents in Guangzhou, but effective July 1, restrictions allow for only 120,000 new registrations to be issued in the next year.

Guangzhou is not alone either. Many other major cities in China are also using quotas by way of license plate lotteries and auctions to limit road congestion and air pollution. It is expected that smaller cities will also begin following in the footsteps of their larger counterparts.

In the past year, demand for vehicles had already fallen when compared to the prior year. Dealerships in Guangzhou were already facing inventories that almost doubled in May. Now, with these new regulations, it is fair to assume that those inventories with increase even more, potentially crippling the dealerships.

Though many vehicle manufacturers are making efforts to produce environmentally friendlier vehicles, perhaps the larger problem in these cities is the physical congestion on the roads. Overwhelming populations have put record numbers of vehicles on the roads. There are nearly 2 and a half million vehicles in the city that has only 800,000 parking spaces and the average driving speed in Guangzhou is just 12 miles per hour. These staggering facts have tied the hands of municipal leaders and, in turn, had a massive impact on dealerships.

So, what do you think can be done to help lessen the burden on the dealerships? How should these dealerships try to better manage their inventories during times of stagnant sales?


Working Hard or Hardly Working?

In a recent article on, Vanessa Wong discusses the growing trend of employees working from home. According to a survey that polled over 1,000 American office workers, a substantial portion of them admitted to participating in various leisure activities while “on the clock” during work hours. Some of those surveyed even admitted to napping or drinking alcohol.


Somewhat surprisingly, preliminary studies performed by Stanford University found that some at-home employees are actually more productive than their more traditionally office-based counterparts. Some of the telecommuting employees mentioned within the article said that they highly value the benefits for working from home, such as flexibility of time management and family needs. Half of those surveyed also stated that their bosses oppose the practice of working from home.

This article interested me because my life is personally affected by the “work-at-home” trend. My husband works in a project management position and is afforded the opportunity to work remotely on a daily basis. Though the distractions of home life can sometimes be difficult to deal with, he has also proven himself as one of the most productive, successful employees within his peer group.

Home-based employees could be difficult from a manager’s perspective because it can be more difficult to oversee and control what is happening and companies likely would not like to be paying wages to employees who are not actively performing while on duty. However, productivity is a key component for successful organizations and, if this survey’s results are a true indicator, loss of some control might be a worthwhile trade-off for a more productive employee.

Furthermore, there is an increasing expectation for employees to be in a constant state of availability. Smart phones and laptops have made it possible, and sometimes mandatory, for employees to remain connected at all hours of the day and all days of the week. Business life and personal life used to be clearly defined areas, but they have now bled over into each other’s territories. Advances in technologies are helping the definitions of employment evolve. For many positions, working from home is simply not possible, but for others, it is a definite possibility. I believe that if home-based employees continue to show productivity, the practice of telecommuting may become even more common place in the years to come.