What would you do if you had just bought a 500,000 RMB (~$78,000) brand-new BMW X1? Pick up a hot date? Drive on the Autobahn? If your answer is “leave it parked on the side of the road unattended for 1 year while it collects dust,” then Beijing police would like to have a word with you.
Recently, the car pictured above has gone viral on the Chinese internet after it was abandoned to the elements outside Beijing’s CCTV building, and netizens are letting their imaginations run rampant with stories of the car’s origins. One such story surmises a tycoon bought the BMW as a gift for a CCTV host, but the host wouldn’t accept it, and so the tycoon abandoned it on the roadside.
Aside from the (terrible) jokes, most are just aghast at the idea of throwing away such a large sum of money, and see the wasted car as another sign of China’s growing income gap:
When a normal person loses their 100 RMB bike, they spend days searching the entire city, losing sleep and eating poorly — this is the difference between rich and poor.
The rich can afford a BMW, the super rich can afford to abandon a BMW.
Locals say the car was first reported as abandoned more than six months ago, but as the car has no plates, police had no way to contact the owner.
The car, which has no personal effects inside, and even still has its miles-per-gallon information from the dealership hanging on the windshield, was finally towed away today by police due to the internet fame accrued — most likely to protect the car from vandals or theft. On the ground where the car once lay in squalor, police wrote in white chalk, “X1 owner, please come to the Gongzhufen Traffic Police Station to handle this matter.”
The matters requiring handling are registration and purchasing of plates, as well as 1 year’s worth of parking tickets — hardly considered frightening to anyone able to abandon $80,000 on the side of the road.
Abandoned BMW is currently #2 on Baidu’s Top 10 Searches.