Italy's government auctions luxury cars…on eBay

In a bold statement regarding the crackdown on government waste in Italy, six state-owned luxury cars have been listed on internet auction site eBay.

Offers started rolling in on Thursday for the vehicles, which included two BMWs, two Alfa Romeos and two Lancias. The government said that over the next three weeks, a total of 151 "nonessential" cars would be sold.

The first set of cars to go under the hammer - which were once owned by the Interior Ministry – had attracted bids totaling $82,000 by 6.00 a.m. London time on Friday morning.

Read More Europe's recovery depends on Renzi's Italy

A 2009 BMW 525 with 141,163 kilometers on the clock had received 45 bids, taking its price to 15,650 euros ($21,511). The Diesel-powered, used car was available for pickup from the Rome area and could be purchased by a wire transfer.

A 2007 grey Alpha Romeo 166, with 126.718 kilometers on the clock, was at 8,600 euros ($11,821) after 59 bids. The auction will end on April 6.


The sale comes after a power struggle at the heart of the Italian government, which saw Matteo Renzi - a young and brash former mayor of Florence – become prime minister in February with the promise of rigorous reforms.

Renzi has called for political measures designed to enhance growth and job creation in the country, and streamline the bureaucracy and the judiciary system, He has also detailed a rapid schedule of targets for reforms.

Read MoreDoubts over Renzi's 'ambitious' reforms for Italy

Roberto Serra - Iguana Press | Getty Images News | Getty Images

This auction - initially announced by Renzi on March 12 – is part of a drastic effort to cut costs. In a statement, the government said the sale would be focused on the state's chauffeur-driven vehicles – known as "blue cars" – and added that it highlights the changing relationship between citizens and government.

Italy, the third-largest economy in the 18-country euro zone after Germany and France, has been struggling to get its finances in order over the past few years.

The country's debt as a proportion of its gross domestic product was 127 percent in 2012, according to European statistics database Eurostat. The only other euro zone country with a higher debt level is Greece, at 159 percent. Italy's unemployment rate, meanwhile, remains stubbornly high at 12.9 percent.

Two Jaguars from the Justice Ministry are due to be sold on eBay in the next few weeks, as are nine Maseratis once owned by the country's Defense Ministry.