China suspects massive fraud among green automakers

China suspects massive fraud among green automakers

Beijing, Sep 10 (IANS) Chinese authorities suspect massive fraud among the manufacturers of green vehicles for receiving subsidies illegally, authorities said.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) late Friday announced it is investigating large-scale fraud after five automakers were penalised for carrying out illicit practices, EFE news reported.

Besides the five automakers, the authorities also identified other companies who had breached regulations to obtain government subsidies, said an official from CAAM.

Xu Yanhua, a deputy secretary general of the CAAM, however, did not specify the number of companies who had flouted regulations, although data released by state-run media indicates that up to 20 more companies could be involved in the fraud.

China’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday announced that it would penalise five car manufacturers for committing breaches including inflating production and sales figures to qualify for and obtain subsidies worth around $150 million.

The ministry said it will revoke the production license of one of the five automakers, Suzhou Gemesa Coach Manufacturing, and disqualify it, along with the other four companies, from receiving any more government subsidies.

The sector of eco-friendly or green vehicles is one of the priorities of the Chinese government, which has included them in its “Made in China 2025” plan launched in 2015.

Beijing has offered substantial subsidies to manufacturers of such vehicles and introduced tax breaks on purchases of electric cars while expanding the network of charging stations for such vehicles with the aim of developing this sector.

Sales of hybrid and electric vehicles tripled in China in 2015 to 331,100 units, according to CAAM.

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