Free Press Journal

Auction of China’s ex-govt cars fetches 14.5 million yuan


Beijing: With bidders drawn to their status, China’s ex-government luxury cars have fetched a whopping 14.5 million yuan at an auction here to sell off vehicles that are not being used following President Xi Jinping’s austerity measures.

Hundreds of Chinese bidders flocked to Beijing in the hopes of winning bids in an auction for seized vehicles that used to belong to the central government.

The first batch of 204 central government officials’ cars that went under the hammer on Sunday and yesterday were sold at about 75 per cent higher than their starting prices on average, China News Service reported.

They raked in a total of 14.5 million yuan (USD 2.32 million) with individual prices ranging between 11,000 yuan for a Jinbei van and 342,000 yuan for an Audi A6.  An auction staff said the prices were much higher than that of other secondhand vehicles.

“It makes me look good to drive a former official car to business gatherings, because it used to serve officials from the central government,” a bidder told China Business News.

Such vehicles were usually better maintained than other secondhand cars and were thus worth their hefty price tags, the bidder said.

The most ambitious bidder went home with more than 20 Audis and Volkswagens worth more than a million yuan, including the first car put on sale, a 2004 Volkswagen Passat, the South China Morning Post reported.

China has put new curbs on the use of official cars as part of an ongoing anti-extravagance campaign driven by President Xi Jinping.

All ranks of officials below deputy minister are now banned from commuting in government-owned cars except for law enforcement and emergency purposes.
Unused cars were to be sold at public auctions, with all earnings turned over to the state treasury.

The remaining 2,980 cars that were seized last year will be auctioned at later dates.