Single bid submitted for €3m ambulance tender

Last year the State Emergency Medical Service (NMPD) announced a tender over buying ambulance cars. It concluded January 8, after several delays. Worth €3 million, it only attracted a single applicant, and at that one not among the country's big car dealers.

LTV's Panorāma reports that the only contestant is Mūsu Auto Valmiera, a regional dealer for Volkswagen. Last year, its turnover was about €5 million.

The planned sum of the deal is €3,061,800, for 35 Volkswagen 4WD ambulance cars, plus maintenance. A single vehicle costs €72,900 and the rest, about €500,000, will be paid for maintenance. 

Mūsu Auto Valmiera is related to another car dealer, Mūsa Motors Grupa. Three out of the five owners of Mūsu Auto Valmiera - Vitauts Tučkus, Iveta Siliņa and Jānis Āboltiņš - have previously worked at other Mūsa Motors Grupa companies. 

The previous big NMPD tender was won by Auto Blitz, for 52 cars in 2016. It is part of Mūsa Motors Grupa.

The head of the NMPD's transport department Egils Lapiņš admits even though Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz cars were most suitable for the tender, none of the big dealers had applied to try sell them. 

"This is not an easy niche.. but it'd be exaggerated to say it's so specific and unfavorable that no one would like a piece of the cake. It's clear that the fact only one contestant applied testifies to that there are unreasonable demands in the tender rules or the technical specification or the agreement," said Ingus Rūtiņš, the head of an association representing several car dealers. 

Domenikss, the dealer of Mercedez Benz cars and one that has scored previous tenders, said that the deal provided for hefty fines, of more than €24 an hour, if the cars spent too much time being serviced.

"To fulfill such requirements we'd need to keep spare parts in each of our service centers.. worth 11% of the deal price," said Domnikss board member Ilze Zoltnere. 

The NMPD representative explains that in the past ambulance vehicles sometimes spent too much time in maintenance. 

"The thing is so that we can discipline the providers so that they understand what they're dealing with here. Secondly, so that they thing about the spare parts they're keeping. And that they consider the logistics of delivering spare parts and repairing cars across Latvia," said Egils Lapiņš.

Ingus Rūtiņš summed up the conclusions that most car dealers have come to.

"Putting two and two together, it was a major risk bomb, impossible to manage normally without adding a risk premium to the price," said Rūtiņš. 

However, this does not explain as to why a smaller dealer from Valmiera had the courage to risk the aforementioned fines. The company refused to reveal its plans concerning the tender to LTV. 

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