Rich People Can’t Drive

I read in one of this weekend’s Sunday papers about a 47 million RMB Aston Martin that was written off last week by its Chinese owner, more of which later. It was only recently that T published a post entitled “People In This Town Can’t Drive” which came hot on the heels of the horrific case in Singapore last month where a 31 year old Chinese national, Ma Chi, from Sichuan province ran a red light in his Ferrari, smashed in to a taxi and killed the taxi driver and the passenger as well as himself.

The story caused outrage in Singapore (where rules are in general, strictly followed) with many Singaporeans angry about yet another Chinese foreigner ignoring local rules and subsequently causing the death of a hard working Singaporean father of 3. But perhaps more surprising (for me) was the outrage back home in China, where many resent the increasing number of badly behaved young, spoiled, rich Chinese brats that drive around in million dollar cars flaunting their wealth and often with disregard for traffic regulations.

Amazingly the whole incident was caught on video a dash mounted camera in the car behind the unfortunate taxi and if you’re outside China or have a VPN you can see it here. The driver completely ignores the red light and smashed straight in to the taxi before hitting a motorcyclist.

I did make a passing reference last year to the case of Li Qiming, the son of a senior police official who, after running over and killing a young girl shouted “my father is Li Gang” when security guards tried to detain him. Okay, so he was only driving a Volkswagen, but he was still clearly spoiled and grew up knowing that he could get away with things most people couldn’t simply because he had a well connected father. Except in this case, because of the publicity, even his father couldn’t help him. Something he realised soon after.

The stunning One-77

And so back to the Aston Martin. Just last week, one of only 77 limited edition Aston Martin One-77s was written off by its Chinese owner as he apparently hit a kerb at high speed. It’s what’s known as a singular vehicle accident which generally means there’s only one person at fault! The cost of the car was around 47 million RMB which is about 7m US dollars (which is just another clear indication of how wealth in communist China is so unevenly distributed). I don’t think it’s inappropriate to say the owner had more money than (driving) sense! The Aston Martin One-77 was so named because they only made 77 of them, 7 of which were allocated to the China market. I guess they’ll have to rename it the One-76 now!

Oops, there goes 47 million RMB

And finally, speaking of singular vehicle accidents, if you needed further proof that there’s an inverse relationship between how rich you are and how well you can handle an automobile, here’s a photo from outside the VIP Club in Beijing of a rather unfortunate situation involving what looks like a 7 series BMW and a perfectly innocent tree.

Which pedal is the brake?

I understand the driver was not harmed but it’s not clear if the tree survived its injuries!

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21 Responses to Rich People Can’t Drive

  1. Hua Jing Li says:

    Another example of the spoilt rich, and the gap between the rich and the poor in China. It is really sad to see that though China may have become richer their level of morals has decreased. Believing that being well connected means that there are no rules for you, is pretty deillusional as everything can be recorded and placed online within a matter of minutes, even with a firewall.

    Though to be honest, reckless driving is seen all over China, I m afraid for my own safety when I m in a taxis at times

  2. WoAi says:

    @Hua Jing Li – Yes it’s true that driving standards in China are poor among the entire population not just the rich. Even the people on bicycles ignore all the rules and are often killed as a result. Let’s all agree to be careful and vigilant out there.

  3. CP says:

    Most of the idiots in Beijing with overly-expensive cars live in a development opposite mine. I regularly hear them floor the accelerator for all of 2.8 seconds before they have to jam on the anchors as they reach the end of the road. One day I’ll hear screeching instead as the car careers into something. Anyway, it’s all good old-fashioned Darwinism (provided – and hopefully – they don’t take anyone with them)

    By the way, this good summary of driving in China has also been doing the rounds again: http://bit.ly/JiX3nV

  4. T. says:

    When I hear jerks in their Ferraris, Lambos, Astons, Ford GTs, etc. around town GUNNING IT for like 20 feet I root for low speed, high damage, non-injury accidents. Is that wrong? Is it jealousy?

    Jealousy for the car – a little – although with all the speed laws and crap roads, owning a low slung Italian sports car is a big waste in China, unless you’re only using it to attract women.

    Hatred for the way those poor cars are being treated in the hands of philistines who don’t know how to take care of a super nice car? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. You can’t keep gunning a Ferrari engine, you jerks!

  5. WoAi says:

    @CP – Darwinism is fine but sadly, as with the Singapore case, the moron took 2 other lives as well as his own. I didn’t mention it because it’s not directly relevant to the main theme of the post, but Ma Chi had a female passenger with him who was his mistress, while his wife and child were at home. Miraculously, she survived. Thanks for the link. Very amusing in a low tech sort of way. Maybe someone will do a flash animation version one day!

    @T – I feel your frustration. And if I were Aston Martin or Ferrari, I would meticulously vet ANYONE who showed an intention to purchase one of their cars, including a face to face interview. THESE PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO POSSESS THESE CARS. Reminds me of the story about Abercrombie and Fitch paying certain people NOT to wear their clothes!

  6. Hua Jing Li says:

    I doubt that anyone in China would agree to drive safely, people can’t even give way to people. China is going through a situation of people having too much money, than sense and taste, which predominantly people are buying expensive cars to drive around city, which is absurd, but I ve seen it done in London, and it makes them look dumb

  7. Lil bro says:

    Looks like they took driving lessons from the same guy who teaches the premiership footballers.

  8. Linnifae says:

    If I ever get the chance to visit China…which I hope to do eventually (just need to learn a bit more conversational Mandarin)…I will be taking Xanax every time I get in a car…heck I do that now driving in the states. People everywhere are crazy.

    P.S. The after picture of this car made my husband just about cry.

  9. WoAi says:

    @Lil bro – That’s an interesting comparison. Now you mention it, those obnoxious rich Chinese share many characteristics with many of the footballers in England. I’ve heard stories of some of them (Craig Bellamy I think) in a dispute with some manager at a club or something then shouting “I make more in a week than you do in a year” or something to that effect. And like many nouveau riche Chinese, many footballers came from very humble backgrounds. So basically money makes you an arsehole (although Craig Bellamy I think was born an arsehole!!)

    @Linnifae – Xanax will do the trick or a blindfold! I don’t think any guy has a dry eye after seeing the wrecked Aston Martin.

  10. T. says:

    A friend of mine is a transportation journalist – and he was at the Beijing Auto Show and he asked the Ferrari PR guy about the terrible (and I mean terrible) paint jobs that poor Ferraris often get in China post-purchase. I’m talking pink, purple sparkle, candy green – just terrible. he said “we don’t like it, but we can’t do anything about it once the car has been purchased.”

    I was hoping they would go around with refund checks and say “You know what? I’m sorry, you just don’t deserve to own this car – here’s your money back.”

  11. WoAi says:

    @T – But they can make sure that person never gets to buy another Ferrari once he’s crashed the first one! I seriously thought Ferrari did vet potential buyers. I know some models are only available to existing owners or something like that.

  12. T. says:

    Yeah, but that’s for very special models like the Enzo or the F50. Nothing to stop anyone from picking up a California or similar.

  13. WoAi says:

    @T – Yes, it’s clearly not so straight forward. Maybe they could do it the same way some exclusive clubs operate. You need to be referred by an existing member. And obviously that member knows if he refers an “undesirable” member, he’ll look bad when things go wrong. Oh and some kind of Ferrari driving test prior to purchase. If you don’t pass you don’t get the car.

  14. T. says:

    My idea is that Ferrari gives ME (yes me) a special key, and if I see any sort of jack-ass-ery, I will go over and confiscate that car. Also, I will punch the driver in the face. Even if its a 20 year old hot girl.

  15. IC says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_driverless_car

    Self-driving car is the solution for every body. China should be the first country to make human driving illegal.

  16. WoAi says:

    @T – Your idea is a good one but I doubt you could manage by yourself. I propose I also share the workload with you. I draw the line at hitting a girl though. Don’t hate the playa, hate the game!

    @IC – An excellent solution indeed. Actually Volvo have come out with a car (V40) that’s almost impossible to crash and is the first car with exterior airbags to protect pedestrians in a crash. A sensor will stop the car dead if it senses the car is about to crash:

    http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/volvo/v40/first-drives/volvo-v40-d2-se

    And of course, Volvo is now Chinese owned. How ironic.

  17. CP says:

    @Woai: your last comment sadly brings to mind the saying “make something idiot-proof and they will design a better idiot”. I wait confidently for a picture of a crash-proof Volvo wrapped around a lamp post in China.

  18. WoAi says:

    @CP – Actually I like the idea of airbags outside but NOT inside. That way the idiot who causes the accident is killed instantly and the innocent victims are saved. Darwinism with some assistance! In fact, I wonder how fast people would drive if the inside of the cars have thousands of sharp metal pointy spikes randomly scattered about the interior cabin!

  19. Kim C says:

    This story is so sickening on so many level. First the beautiful cars being destroyed by complete tosses and then the idiots driving them causes death and destructions to other innocent people.

    Glad you cleared up who the 20 something was in the car. That was one point tha was bothering me. The wife says her husband went out around 3am and then he causes the accident about an hour later, with an unidentified young lady in the car. He got what he deserved, pity that he had to devastate other lives at
    the same time.

    Incredible to watch the video. The other taxi driver must be having awful nightmares of what could have been..

  20. WoAi says:

    @Kim C – Yes originally I mentioned the 20 year old mistress then deleted it because it seemed to confuse the main theme of the post. But honestly, this idiot killed a father of three and a Japanese woman passenger and was cheating on his wife and more than likely driving fast to show off to his young mistress.

    Never mind the other driver, I swear I’ve been terrified just walking around the streets of Shanghai. I look both ways and then look again before I cross any roads now. I may need therapy! And there’s another lesson, never be first to pull away at the traffic lights. NEVER!

  21. Kim C says:

    Never mind the other driver, I swear I’ve been terrified just walking around the streets of Shanghai. I look both ways and then look again before I cross any roads now. I may need therapy!

    This reminded me of something my daughter said the other day. We were discussing flying cars and she thought it would be so cool to have a flying car in China, to get out of the hideous traffic. But I reminded her, that it would be even worse, cos then you really would have to look in every direction, even UP at least twice before crossing a road. Aiya!

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