By Ronan Glon
Monday, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 10:07 am
After experiencing several years of incredibly quick growth, China's auto industry has started to show signs of slowing down. To cope with that trend, and to avoid the collapse of local automakers, the government has put into place several protective measures.

One of the first measures came last December, when the government announced that it would no longer offer aid and incentives for foreign automakers who wish to open up shop in China.

The move caused an outrage in Europe and in the United States, but the government intends on going even further. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has just released a list of the 412 cars that can be purchased by state and local governments. For the first time in the country's recent history, every single car that is present on the list is Chinese.

The move is expected to have a huge effect on foreign companies that are established in China. Guotai Junan Securities Company estimates that about 80% of cars in the government's fleet are currently foreign.

One of the hardest-hit automakers will be Audi. The China-only long-wheelbase A6L is immensely popular among high-placed government workers, as well as business owners.

From the Chinese point of view, there is nothing wrong with the move, and everything is business as usual.

"Most countries use official cars as a way to showcase the domestic auto industry, so we see this as a natural progression of the development of Chin's automotive industry,"ť said a report published by Macquarie Group Ltd.

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