Beijing city says auto stimulus policies reported by media were not researched

FILE PHOTO: Workers work on an assembly line manufacturing Audi Q3 cars at the FAW-Volkswagen Tianjin plant in Tianjin, China December 5, 2019. Picture taken December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer.

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s capital Beijing said plans to offer new licenses 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 raised the ideas of some unresearched 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 Beijing city was considering plans to stimulate demand for automobiles 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 licenses to new energy vehicle buyers in the first half of 2020 and launching special plate licenses 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 researched and it did not elaborate if it would research the policies.

Reporting by Brenda Goh, Zoey Zhang and Yilei Sun; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Michael Perry