Liquor maker jettisons public autos at auction

Updated: 2014-01-14 07:26

By Wang Zhuoqiong and Jin Haixing (China Daily)

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Wuliangye Group, China's leading liquor producer, will complete an auction on Tuesday that will have put 343 public vehicles under the hammer.

The State-owned enterprise, based in Yibin, Sichuan province, announced the sale on Jan 2 as a move to reform its use of public vehicles in accordance with directives from the central government.

On Monday, Wuliangye sold 84 of 90 vehicles offered, garnering 6.68 million yuan ($1.1 million). It aunctioned off 173 vehicles with a total value of 14.18 million yuan on Saturday and Sunday.

The vehicles were priced at 2,500 to 480,000 yuan each, according to Wuliangye.

When the selloff is complete, Wuliangye will keep about 200 vehicles for daily use. The reform will be fully completed by the end of February, according to the company's publicity department.

The auction attracted a great deal of public attention. By last Wednesday, more than 1,000 applicants nationwide had signed up, the company said.

And bidding was competitive. On Sunday, a seven-yearold Buick with mileage of 70,000 km sold for 90,000 yuan after starting at 42,000 yuan.

"Because the public vehicles were well maintained, it was reasonable that the bidding price was higher than other secondhand vehicles with the same mileage," said Chen Xiao, an employee of Wuliangye's administration office.

Wuliangye will be changing the way it handles transportation expenses. After the vehicle selloff, it will offer reimbursements of between 800 yuan and 2,500 yuan for management employees at various levels who have lost the use of company vehicles.

The reimbursements will not be given in cash. Rather, transportation receipts will be required to justify each expense. That change is expected to save more than 10 million yuan, according to the publicity department.

Huang Xiuxi, with the Yibin government, said the reform of public vehicles by Wuliangye was the third company to do so among the city's State-owned enterprises.

The public motor vehicle system in China has been criticized frequently because of widespread misuse and lack of supervision. And the numbers are large: By 2013, the number of public vehicles in the country reached two million, Beijing News reported.

In November, the State Council released a regulation aimed at correcting problems associated with the use and misuse of public vehicles, and experts say they expect to see more auctions in Chinese mainland cities to reduce expenses in 2014.

Qin Qianhong, a law professor at Wuhan University, said at the government level, the reduction of costs achieved by changing to a system of reimbursement for actual transportation expenses - backed up by receipts - will be substantial.

Huang Zhiling in Chengdu contributed to this story.

 Liquor maker jettisons public autos at auction

Wuliangye's public auction for its vehicles began on Saturday. Zeng Lang / for China Daily

(China Daily 01/14/2014 page5)