March 2, 2017 / 4:17 AM / 7 months ago

China green vehicle subsidy approvals slow after scandal

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday issued its second list for 2017 of green energy vehicles eligible for subsidies, with the number of approvals slowing amid stricter oversight in the wake of a cheating scandal.

The latest list from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology takes the total number of battery electric and hybrid vehicles eligible for subsidies this year to 386, well down on the 713 models given the green light by the same date last year.

China has aggressively promoted green energy vehicles to combat pollution and promote technological innovation, spending billions of dollars in subsidies, but has stepped up oversight after penalizing dozens of companies last year for cheating the subsidy program.

Sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles plunged 74.4 percent in January under the new regime, which requires companies to reapply for subsidies for each vehicle model, China’s automakers association said last month.

The association has yet to release February sales figures.

The lastest list includes models from Chongqing Changan Automobile, Guangzhou Automobile Group, BYD and SAIC Motor Corp.

Xiamen King Long Motor Group, a coach bus maker whose unit in the city of Suzhou was found to have wrongfully obtained 519 million yuan ($75 million) in subsidies, has received approvals through separate subsidiaries for more than 50 models this year.

Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Richard Pullin

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