In the wake of relaxed legislation surrounding older vehicles, the Chinese classic car industry is gearing up for development

Previously a country where cars over 15 years old had to be scrapped, China is finally coming around to the idea of preserving and enjoying classic and historic vehicles.

As well as the aforementioned legislation being overturned of late, in recognition of the historical importance of many classics, the import to China of vehicles more than 100 years old was made legal in 2019, where previously the import of any second hand car was banned.

In December 2023, the Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr. Sheng Qiuping, met with the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens ( International Federation of Historic Vehicles, FIVA) in Paris to discuss the future of the classic car movement in China. This was followed by an invitation for FIVA President Tiddo Bresters to attend last month’s China International Classic Car Industry Outlook Conference.

The conference discussed issues such as the definition of a ‘classic’ car, the potential reform of policies relating to historic vehicles and for international cooperation.

The Conference was followed by the Hainan Pride Tour of International Collection Cars, involving primarily 1980s classic cars on a temporary import permit, including a W126 Mercedes S-Class, Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 928. The cars toured Hainan’s scenic roads before arriving in Sanya, China’s southernmost town.

FIVA President, Tiddo Bresters said “Most of the participants in the Hainan Pride Tour were under 30 years old. Attracting younger people to the historic vehicle movement is a mainstay of FIVA’s aims, so to see this in a country with a potentially a vast contribution is very encouraging.”

While Gui’an Zong, President of the Classic Vehicle Union of China was similarly optimistic: “The Hainan Conference has had a huge impact on the Chinese classic car industry. We have spent much time discussing matters with governments and officials across China, and we have reason to believe that the spring of China’s classic car industry is approaching. Working with FIVA, we hope to promote the rapid development of China’s classic car industry.”

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