Buses and Taxis
The apparent suicide note claimed BYD fraudulently registered 600 electric buses with the city government to qualify for central and local government subsidies in 2014. Each electric bus that was sold could qualify for 1 million yuan in combined subsidies from the central and local government. A single bus sold for about 2 million yuan.
However, the note claimed, the company delivered only a few dozen buses to the city of Nanjing in first half 2014.
According to the note, Liu worked with city government vehicle management officials to register non-existent buses, using fake documents provided by BYD.
But an official at the management office who asked to remain anonymous denied the claim. A BYD employee who also asked not to be named said "all vehicles" were built "before they were registered."
The employee said most vehicles were made at a BYD plant in the central city of Changsha, although in order to improve chances of qualifying for the subsidies, the contract signed with the Nanjing government said they were built at BYD's Nanjing factory.
The note also claimed BYD defrauded the government in connection with sales of 240 electric taxis in December 2014. The company got the money, it said, but the taxis were never delivered.
"The whereabouts of these cars remains unclear," the note said.
On March 23, a Caixin reporter spoke with a BYD executive at a company warehouse in Shenzhen who said the 240 taxis built for and sold to Nanjing Bus Group have been stored at the facility since December 2014. He said the cars were in storage due to an ongoing taxi glut in Nanjing that started in 2014.
Why Nanjing Bus ordered the BYD taxes but apparently never took delivery is unclear. A bus company executive said the order originated with the city transportation bureau. But a bureau official said higher-ups in the city government, not his agency, made the decision.
Each taxi sold for 300,000 yuan, according to BYD sales contracts obtained by Caixin, while combined central and local government subsidies equaled 117,000 yuan per vehicle.
A Nanjing transport bureau officials said city and provincial agencies had distributed 2.3 billion yuan in subsidies from 2010 to 2015 for alternative-energy vehicles including buses and taxis.
The city's contribution to the subsidy payments – 1.4 billion yuan – was "the biggest in the nation," said the official.
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, BYD produced 20,840 hybrid and electric vehicles in 2014, more than any other domestic automaker. Also that year, Nanjing was the largest buyer of BYD e-cars.