A portent of the problems brought about by the ever-increasing income gap in China, a young Jiangsu man is facing probable financial ruin after clipping the bumper off a brand-new Rolls-Royce Phantom in Nanjing. The cost of repairing the Phantom is expected to be upwards of 1 million RMB.
The accident occurred near Lukou International Airport in Nanjing on February 14th. The Rolls-Royce, used as an airport shuttle for corporate VIPs, was parked on a bend in the road when it was struck from the opposite direction by a car driven by 21-year-old Liu from Jiangsu Province.
Liu, who works as a chef, was driving a Chinese made LingYue sedan, valued at around 60-70,000RMB, compared to a price tag of 12 million RMB for the Phantom. Though the accident only sheared off the bumper of the Phantom, everything on the luxury vehicle is of extremely high quality and custom made, with even the hood ornament costing over 10,000 RMB.
After the accident, Liu was dumbfounded and immediately phoned his family only to woefully discover that even after selling everything they own, including their house, they would still come up short of the 1 million RMB required to compensate for the repairs to the Rolls. Liu’s monthly income as a chef is a paltry 2,000 RMB, and at that wage, it would require over 41 years of work to save up the amount of money needed to fix the Phantom’s bumper.
As Liu bears full responsibility for the accident, he will receive no reprieve from his insurance company and in the end will still have to pay hundreds of thousands of RMB out of pocket. However, Liu is currently pleading for clemency from the CEOs of the corporation who owns the Rolls-Royce in hopes they will sympathize with his plight. Considering the amount of eyes that are on this story (#4 trending on Baidu), he may just get lucky in the end.
UPDATE [2/17]: Sina is reporting that the young chef Liu has had his prayers answered — the owner of the Rolls-Royce will pay the repair cost out of pocket. Liu’s insurance coverage only amounted to 300,000 RMB, leaving up to 800,000 RMB remaining for the Rolls-Royce owner to cover.
After the accident, we learned that Liu’s economic situation was not ideal. As he is still quite young, such a heavy economic burden would be detrimental to his future development — I have the ability, so I will pay the bill myself.
The happy ending had some speculating whether or not this was a publicity stunt for the Phantom. Rolls-Royce curtly responded with: First, the cost is too high. Second, we already have a large reputation.