New car license applications surpass quota

Updated: 2011-01-10 08:07

By Chen Xin (China Daily)

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Auto dealers found to be forging invoices to get around restrictions

BEIJING - Only one in 12 drivers hoping to license new vehicles in the national capital will be able to do so, figures released by the city's transport authorities on Sunday showed.

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The Beijing municipal commission of transport said it had received more than 10 times the monthly quota for new car license plates applications when the eight-day application period ended on Saturday.

More than 210,000 individuals and about 5,200 companies and government institutions submitted applications online or at transport departments' application offices from Jan 1 until Jan 8, the commission said.

Applicants are competing for the first 20,000 plates to be issued through a lottery system on Jan 26.

Car buyers can apply for next month's drawing from Sunday until Feb 8.

Beijing had decided to grant only 240,000 new license plates this year - one-third of 2010's total - to ease gridlock. Individual car buyers will receive a monthly average of 88 percent, or 17,600, of the plates.

Commercial use will account for 2 percent and 10 percent will be designated for companies and government bodies.

Beijing's new traffic measures stipulate a driver may only register one car. Individuals can apply once a month. Those who do not win the lottery will automatically be included in the following month's draw, the measures said.

Enterprises can apply once every two months, the rules said.

Upon submitting their applications, candidates receive a code, and their qualifications will be examined. Qualification results will be released on Jan 25, the day before the lottery.

Lottery winners may not transfer their registration rights to others.

Director of the commission Liu Xiaoming said in December the commission will ensure both examination and lottery procedures are open, fair and transparent.

As only a very small proportion of applicants - less than 10 percent - will win the registration rights in the drawing, some car dealers are forging car purchase invoices to boost stagnant sales, China National Radio (CNR) reported on Saturday.

Beijing authorities announced on Dec 23, 2010, that any car sold before that date would still be granted a license plate.

Some dealers were discovered to have changed the purchase dates on invoices to before Dec 23 to help buyers get plates. They charged 8,000 yuan ($1,200) to 20,000 yuan for the service, the CNR report said.

Beijing Jiaotong University transportation law institute Director Zhang Changqing said such actions violate relevant regulations and are risky.

"Authorities did not specify punishments for forgers of invoices and sales agreements," he told China Daily.

"That reveals a policy loophole and opportunity for speculation by dealers."

Zhang suggested policymakers be more detailed in drafting regulations.

There are also worries that arbitrary applications may affect buyers' chances.

The new rules stipulate an applicant's registration right expires if not used in six months but the holder can reapply a month after.

"It's not fair for us who really need to buy a car," said Beijing resident Wu Bin, who applied for a plate on Jan 1.

"I suggest one's right to use drawn lots be cancelled for an entire year if he abandons the registration rights twice," he said.

He Li, a lawyer at Beijing-based Yingke Law Firm, said buyers should have a clearer idea about when they need to buy a car, rather than just blindly applying.

Punishments could be introduced to deter random abandonment of car registration rights, he said.

Beijing's traffic congestion has worsened in recent years. There were 4.8 million vehicles on the capital's roads as of Dec 29, which was about 700,000 more than at the beginning of 2010.



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