China's ongoing move to increased amounts of private vehicle ownership is being fueled by the small car segment. And why not, in some cases, buying one of these small cars costs less than it does to buy a Shanghai government license plate. In the monthly auction for the limited number of plates, prices reached over $6,000 US in May. Considering that domestically-produced minicars, like Chery's QQ or First Auto Works' Xiali Charade, cost somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000, you'd think that it's affording license plates that is a defining aspect of car sales.

Not so, says Automotive News' Alysha Webb" it's high fuel costs that are driving the small car segment. "The rising price of gasoline is having a bigger impact on consumer habits," she writes. "People are turning to small, fuel-efficient cars."

[Source: Automotive News / Alysha Webb]

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