BMWs were purchased for senior officials because they had complained cheaper Mazdas were too uncomfortable, it emerged yesterday. The Government spent about $12 million on 20 BMW 735iLs and BMW 750iLs in 1997 to replace the Toyotas used previously. This is believed to be about $5.4 million more than the Mazdas would have cost. Some members of the Legco Public Accounts Committee said on Wednesday they were unhappy the Government had not provided documents to explain why the more expensive BMWs had been bought. The Government Land Transport Agency's government transport manager, Sam Hui Wai-kwong, said a variety of cars was bought for different requirements. The agency divided vehicles into grade A and grade B, he said. Grade A was for bureau secretaries, the chairmen of the two provisional municipal councils and VIP visitors. Grade B was for heads of department. In 1996, the Government put out a tender for grades A and B, saying both should be the same make, with grade A having a higher quality interior. A total of 13 offers from 11 tenderers were received. But Mr Hui said officials had then complained the tender document did not reflect their requirements, that is, they were not confortable enough. To ensure fairness, the Central Tender Board cancelled the May tender and conducting separate tenders for grade A and grade B vehicles with revised criteria. The new criteria included a price score and a quality score. Mr Hui said that in the case of grade B vehicles, 14 offers from 12 tenderers were received. Mazda Motors (HK) Limited attained the highest total score and was accepted. Mr Hui refused to say how many Mazdas the Government had bought. Mazda said it had supplied more than 60 of its 929 models since 1996. As for grade A vehicles, 12 offers from 11 tenderers were received. BMW Concessionaires (HK) came out on top. 'In the entire tendering exercise, we have ensured the process is open, fair and transparent and we are satisfied that value-for-money has been achieved,' Mr Hui said.