Italy’s new government is selling off hundreds of unneeded cars used by government officials, in an online auction on eBay, as it strives to show it is responding to public pressure to cut spending and the privileges of the powerful. A list of 151 car makes and models for sale has been posted so far – among them are dozens of BMWs, Alfa Romeos, and Lancias. There are also a few surprises, namely nine high-powered Maseratis owned by the Defence Ministry, and a couple of Jaguars.
Within hours of the first cars going up on eBay, a 2009 BMW 525 with 141,163 kilometers (87,714 miles) was fetching 13,050 euros ($18,000) while a 2007 Alfa Romeo 166 with 126,718 kilometers (78,739 miles) was going for 6,150 euros ($8,500). Both cars were previously owned by the Interior Ministry. Successful bidders must pick them up, according to the site.
The initiative is championed by new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who says the official vehicles have come to be seen as a symbol of wasteful government spending, according to La Repubblica. He was taking a cue from the former mayor of Florence – himself – who auctioned off four cars early in his term. Besides cashing in, the government will save on upkeep, maintenance and running costs. Bidding on the vehicles is open until 16 April.