The ‘company car’ is the latest victim of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption/anti-extravagance crackdown that has been draining bowls of shark-fin soup and pushing mistresses to the brink of poverty throughout China. Official cars can now only be used for official business (well, that makes sense) and public records must be kept to log who, why, and what the cars were used for (we’ll believe that when we see it).
The government spent some 6 billion yuan on officials’ cars in 2011, primarily on the beloved black Audis that are synonymous with bourgeois communist officialdom. The new restrictions hope to foster a greater demand for wholly-Chinese cars, clean energy, or a myriad of other non-Audi solutions, as Caixin reports:
The reform separates the management of cars from the officials who use them, Qiao said. Anyone who wants to get a vehicle for official use needs to file the necessary paperwork, and that can aid corruption investigations.
“The reform measure might also stimulate the market for car services because rental companies and taxi companies might benefit from the elimination of official cars provided for general use,” Qiao said.
The Wall Street Journal also weighed in on new legislation:
Beijing also will continue to encourage local governments to purchase Chinese-brand cars for official use and to give priority to new-energy vehicles, the State Council, or cabinet, statement said. In a draft policy issued by China’s Industry Ministry last year, all 412 vehicles listed as eligible for government purchase were domestic brands. Earlier this month, Chinese-owned Swedish brand Volvo said it had been added to the government’s auto procurement list.
Perhaps officials would be more comfortable in any of the wonderfully subtle vehicles we’ve featured on Shanghaiist before, like the “Crazed golden flying dragon car,” the “Fake Lamborghini” or even the “Coolest Car in the Galaxy.”