LCQ7: Auction of vehicle registration marks

     Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 18):


     In December last year, the Transport Department (TD) put up 280 traditional vehicle registration marks (VRMs) for sale by public auction, with most of them being sold at low prices.  Moreover, TD also auctioned quite a number of non-transferable special VRMs, with more than half of them being recalled involuntarily due to a lack of bids for them.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the number of public auctions of traditional VRMs held by the authorities in each of the past three years; the number of VRMs (both transferable and non-transferable ones) put up for sale at each auction, as well as the respective numbers of VRMs being sold and recalled at each auction;

(b) of the cost involved and the amount payable to the Lotteries Fund for charity at each auction in the past three years; and

(c) how the reserve prices of special VRMs are determined, and whether adjustments will be made in response to the prevailing economic situation (including adjusting the reserve auction prices and recalling some VRMs); if not, of the reasons for that?



     In 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Transport Department conducted 19, 25 and 23 auctions (a total of 67 auctions) of traditional vehicle registration marks respectively, where a total of 17,048 registration marks were put up for auction (i.e. an average of about 250 marks per auction).  Of the 17,048 marks, 9,070 (53%) were transferable and 7,978 (47%) were not transferable; while the numbers of sold and unsold marks were 14,185 (83%) and 2,863 (17%) respectively.

     For the past three years, the average proceeds and related expenses per auction were about $3,400,000 and $135,000 respectively; and an average of about $73,000,000 per year was paid into the account of the Government Lotteries Fund.

     The reserve price of a special registration mark is set with reference to the auction prices of similar marks sold at recent auctions, which should have reflected the latest economic conditions.  Marks put up for auction will be withdrawn if there are no bids. Such arrangements have proved effective as over 80% of the registration marks put up for auction were sold in the past three years. Taking the three auctions conducted by the Transport Department in December last year as example, 280 registration marks were put up for auction on each occasion, of which an average of 65% were sold at prices higher than the reserve prices, and an average of only 30% of the non-transferable registration marks were withdrawn.

Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:08