China has now approximately 300,000 companies involved in auto repair business, 80% of which are engaged in professional auto repairs. Since the former Ministry of Transport and Communications issued two rules on technical management of motor vehicles and management of auto comprehensive performance inspection stations in 1990 and 1991 respectively, China has had a new climax of building auto comprehensive performance inspection stations. By the end of 2007, China's number of auto comprehensive performance inspection stations has risen to 1,594 from 1,215 recorded in 2000, among which 330 are A-level testing stations, 574 are B-level, 690 are C-level. China has had an average annual increase of around 50 auto testing stations in the period.
Changes in Number of Auto Comprehensive Performance Inspection Stations,2000-2007
Source: China Automotive Maintenance and Repair Trade Association
Auto testing stations in China are divided into three levels, namely A, B and C, and there are clear and strict definition on what testing equipment and testing items each level of testing stations should have.
Basic testing items of all levels of auto comprehensive performance inspection stations are as follows:
A-level station can undertake the following tests: brake, sideslip, lighting, steering, front-wheel alignment, speed, dynamic balance, chassis power output, fuel consumption, engine power & igniting system, abnormal sound, wear, distortion, cracks, noise and exhaust emission.
B-level station can undertake tests on auto technical status and maintenance quality, including brake, sideslip, lighting, steering, front-wheel alignment, speed, dynamic balance, fuel consumption, engine power & igniting system, abnormal sound, distortion, noise and exhaust emission.
C-level station can undertake the tests on vehicle's technical status, including braking, sideslip, lighting, steering, dynamic balance, fuel consumption, engine power, abnormal sound, noise and exhaust emission.
Before 2004, China had a continuous rise in the number of auto maintenance companies, and in 2004 the number reached 349,000, demonstrating a thriving auto industry. But with the sustained rises in the number of companies, China's auto maintenance industry had fallen into a big disorder. After 2004, increasingly intensified competition and improved professional level have pushed some companies out of the market, implying that around 2,000 companies have been driven out of the market annually since 2004.