PetroChina’s Xinjiang branch is currently embroiled in a so-called “Luxury Car Gate” scandal over their fleet of imported luxury SUVs. Netizens reacted angrily to the news of PetroChina Xinjiang’s fleet of Audis, Range Rovers and VW Touregs, but when PetroChina attempted to smooth things over, their half-assed explanation only made things much, much worse.
Earlier this week, photos appeared along with a report chastising PetroChina Xinjiang for their seemingly rich taste in vehicles. Critics lambasted the state-owned subsidiary for using profits from a state-approved monopoly in such a wasteful manner, despite PetroChina’s claim that the vehicles are required for Xinjiang’s harsh terrain.
The full list of vehicles shows that PetroChina currently has in their possession a 4.7L imported Range Rover 4700V8, worth 1.3 million yuan or so; a Volkswagen Touareg 3.2V6, worth about 1.1 million yuan; a 4.0L Toyota Prado 4.0VX, with an average import price of 770,000 yuan; and two Audi A6 2.4L with an average price of about 470,000 yuan.
PetroChina officials have attempted to dampen anger by claiming a few of the vehicles, such as the Toyota, are actually rented and not bought, but the real idiocy came out yesterday when they admitted their report contained some “mistakes.”
Reporter: PetroChina said in the report a Volkswagen Touareg 3.2 V6 was purchased in February 2001, but this car wasn’t introduced in China until 2003.
PetroChina: This is my own mistake. In fact, we bought it in February 2005. The numbers 1 and 5 are very close together on the keyboard, I was careless and wrote it wrong.
Reporter: The report also mentioned you rented a 4700V8 Toyota, but there is no such car available on the market; How is this possible?
PetroChina: I don’t know much about cars, I was probably mistaken.
Facepalm. Props to the reporter for calling them out on their bullshit, but either PetroChina hires some grade-A idiots, or this guy drew the short straw to take the long hard fall.
The claim of “1 and 5 are close together on the keyboard” is particularly titillating and an excuse up there with the likes of “wide stance” or “surveyor’s symbols.”
Assuming he’s not using the numpad, 1 and 5 can only be considered close together if you’ve got hooves for hands. Even if he was referring to the numpad, 5 is no more closer to 1 than it is compared to any other number (other than zero).
For a big, evil corporation, PetroChina really has a lot to learn about playing the role of spin doctor. Perhaps they should clear an afternoon, make some popcorn, and learn some lessons from the undisputed spin champions?