China Nearly Stops Supercar Imports With New Emissions Laws

Supercars aren’t banned outright, but you’ll have a heck of a time trying to get one into the country.

byChris Constantine|
China Nearly Stops Supercar Imports With New Emissions Laws


China is notorious for its poor air quality, due to its large population and high emissions. But the massive country is trying to change this with a clean air act similar to the one that's worked to keep Southern California's pollution at bay since the 1970s. China is trying to increase interest in electric vehicles, but that isn't enough on its own. Unfortunately for car enthusiasts and rich people alike, desperate times call for desperate measures; so now, exotic cars have to face the heavy hand of emissions law. Supercars are no longer exempt from Chinese emissions testing, which means that it will be a lot harder to import high-performance vehicles into the country.

An article published by Autocar on Monday exposed the grim news to prospective supercar buyers in China. Previously, most supercars were classified as "low-volume" vehicles, which were exempt from emissions testing due to low production numbers—and thus, little presence on Chinese roads. However, lawmakers have reportedly amended the clean air act to include these cars, so they must meet new Chinese emissions standards.  This means that even rare imported cars such as Morgans will be tested, no matter how few of these cars were made. 

According to Autocar, these new regulations have already caused problems for expanding supercar manufacturers like McLaren, which says the laws have delayed imports of its new flagship 720S and 570S Spider into China. Still, other low-production companies like Ariel reportedly have no issue with the stricter laws, and will build all of their new cars to conform to China's emissions standards. 

Some affected manufacturers have partnered with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in the United Kingdom to fight against these changes. The trade association argues that similar Clean Air Acts in America and Europe spare low-volume supercars from emissions testing, and China should imitate those laws instead.