12 Japanese car parts makers in widening antitrust probe
Chinese investigators confirm Audi and Chrysler have been found to have engaged in monopoly behaviour
China’s top economic planning agency has completed antitrust investigations of 12 Japanese car parts makers and confirmed that German luxury brand Audi and US carmaker Chrysler had been found to have engaged in monopoly behaviour.
Li Pumin, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Wednesday the probes into the 12 Japanese companies were to determine whether they had violated antimonopoly rules in setting prices for spare parts and bearings.
The investigations had recently been completed, and penalties would be imposed on the firms according to the law, Li said.
Under the antitrust law, a company found to have engaged in illegal pricing practices could face a fine equivalent to between 1 per cent and 10 per cent of its revenue in China for the previous year.
Li also confirmed media reports that said Audi and Chrysler had indulged in monopolistic practices. The reports said on Tuesday that the companies had breached the law in setting prices for vehicle maintenance and spare parts.
The NDRC’s Shanghai bureau had almost completed the antitrust probe of Chrysler, Li said, and the investigation of Audi was conducted by the antimonopoly unit of Hubei province’s price bureau.
“The two companies will soon face penalties accordingly,” he said, without providing details.
Li also said that last week the antimonopoly unit of Jiangsu province’s price bureau investigated German luxury brand BMW’s car dealers in five cities, including Suzhou and Wuxi.
The NDRC’s recent antitrust probes have already forced some foreign carmakers to slash prices for car models and spare parts.
With effect from Tuesday, Chrysler cut prices of two models by between 45,000 yuan and 65,000 yuan (HK$56,570 and HK$81,710), while prices for some spare parts were slashed by 20 per cent.
German luxury carmaker Daimler said on Sunday, a day before its Shanghai office was raided by NRDC’s antimonopoly officers, that it would cut prices of spare parts for its Mercedes-Benz models on the mainland by an average 15 per cent from next month.
Audi also slashed prices for its spare parts last week after its British rival Jaguar Land Rover reduced prices for three popular models in response to the NDRC investigations.