Almost 90% of government vehicles put up for auction on the weekend were sold but the total funds raised fell well short of President López Obrador’s 100-million-peso (US $5.2-million) target.
Of 218 cars, SUVs, motorcycles and other vehicles up for grabs at a military base in México state, 196 were sold for a combined total of around 60 million pesos (US $3.1 million).
A Nuevo León businessman made the two priciest purchases, picking up two armored vehicles previously used by former president Enrique Peña Nieto.
Enrique Herrera, owner of a security company in the northern border state, paid 1.9 million pesos (US $99,300) for a 2012 Audi A8 known as la bestia mexicana (the Mexican beast) and 1.6 million pesos (US $83,600) for an armored 2014 Chevrolet Suburban SUV.
Herrera said that both vehicles as well as an additional five he bought for another 1 million pesos will be available for rent or loan to the president and visiting dignitaries.
The Audi will be rented for 40,000 pesos (US $2,100) a day, he explained, although if López Obrador wants to make use of it, he won’t pay anything.
Another vehicle that garnered a lot of attention from the bidders was an armored 2013 BMW X5 SUV that sold for 810,000 pesos (US $42,300).
The director of SAE, the government agency responsible for selling off the vehicles, described the auction as a “historic” event, explaining that a total of 329 people made bids.
“I understand that it was the greatest auction in the history of the SAE in terms of participants,” Ricardo Rodríguez said.
The 22 vehicles that weren’t sold will be available for purchase at another auction scheduled for April at which government planes and helicopters will be on the block.
López Obrador has said that the funds raised will be used to help fund the creation of the national guard – the new security force that the Senate approved unanimously last week.
The auction of the vehicles is part of a wider austerity push by López Obrador, who has converted the official presidential residence into a cultural center, disbanded the president’s personal security contingent and also hopes to sell the luxurious presidential plane.