Beijing disputes media reports on auto stimulus policies

By REUTERS | 25 March 2020

File pic of workers assembling an Audi Q3 SUV at the FAW-Volkswagen Tianjin plant in Tianjin last December. — Reuters

BEIJING/SHANGHAI: China said plans to offer new licences to new energy vehicles and other policies to boost auto sales hit by the coronavirus epidemic had not been researched by authorities yet, reversing earlier state media reports.

In mid-March, some officials discussed some policies in internal discussions which were then "accidentally" published online, Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau said in a post on Weibo.

Earlier on Tuesday, state-backed media reported the government as considering plans to stimulate demand for cars after the coronavirus epidemic hit sales badly.

The reports said possible measures being considered by Beijing include introducing incentives to trade in old cars for new, approving no fewer than 100,000 licences to new energy vehicle buyers in the first half of 2020 and launching special plate licences for suburban areas, citing a statement from China’s commerce ministry.

The statement, according to state media reports, was published on the commerce ministry’s website by the ministry’s Special Commissioner’s Office in Tianjin. It was not available later on the website.

Beijing’s commerce bureau said the reported policies aimed at boosting the city’s auto sector had not yet been studied yet and it did not elaborate if it would do so later.