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Car Inventories from Tianjin Blast Site Sold in China
   2016-04-17 19:19:48    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Wang Kun

A photo shows a car from last year's Tianjin explosion being sold on the market. [Photo: CCTV News]

It's been revealed a new black-market has emerged in Tianjin, where vehicles which were deemed unfit for sale following the deadly warehouse blast there last year, are now finding their way into the market.

CRI's Victor Ning has more.

 

Reports of the vehicles from last year's Tianjin explosion being sold on the market first emerged in November, after a buyer from Hebei agreed to purchase, what she thought, was a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee from a qualified dealer.

After paying out 625-thousand yuan for the vehicle, and completing all the paperwork, she went to pick up the vehicle, but instead was handed an unexpected surprise.

"The sales person took out a safety notice, which said the car had been stored near the warehouse blast site in Tianjin last August. The document said the car had been affected by the explosives at the site but had since has been cleaned and repaired inside out. I thought I bought a brand new car, but it turned out to be a fixed up vehicle from the explosion site. If the shop had told me the truth initially, I would have never made the purchase. "

The dealer in-question now claims it was not aware of the vehicle's origin when the woman first decided to buy it.

Last December, Jeep published a notice regarding its inventory which was parked near the Tianjin explosion site.

It says that while most of its Jeep Grand Cherokees were outside the blast radius, they were in the open-air when the explosions took place.

Despite cleaning them and reparing them all to safety standards, Jeep still requires its dealers trying to sell the vehicles to inform their customers before they buy them.

Professor Zhu Wei with the China University of Political Science and Law says even though Jeep claims to have fixed all the vehicles its since put on the market from Tianjin, a third party should still be involved.

"The manufacturer alone should not be allowd to make the judgment call about whether these cars can be sold on the market. They should be handed over to an independent and third-party authority for testing, and only then can a decision can be made. "

Jeep's December notice also says the company did destroy over 2,000 vehicles after the August explosions, and that around 1,300 others were handed over to an insurance company after the insurance benefits were paid out, as required by law.

Jeep says these vehicles were severely impacted by the blast, and told the insurance company not to sell them.

All authorized Jeep dealers have been banned from selling them.

However, its since been revealed a black market of dealers and repair shops has now surfaced, which has been fixing up these vehicles and selling them at half price.

Some of the dealers say the cars were auctioned off by the insurance company, obstensively for their parts.

However, they admit they've been able to use connections within the local traffic department in Tianjin to get these vehicles registered after they fixed them up.

Professor Zhu Wei says this revelation is more proof industry regulators need to step in.

"Quality monitoring authorities and business regulators have to be evaluating all these affected vehicles. Their job does not stop at the evaluation; they should also ensure the cars that are meant to be destroyed are indeed destroyed. "

A vehicle identification number search on Jeep's Chinese website can help determine whether a car was affected by the Tianjin Blast.

Last August, a series of explosions rocked the Port of Tianjin, killing over 170 people and injuring hundreds of others.

The explosion was caused by the illegal storage of hazardous chemicals, which were spread throughout the port area.

Numerous car companies were using the port site to house their vehicles before moving them to their various dealers around the country for sale.

For CRI, I'm Victor Ning.

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