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Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 12:46

China to punish Chrysler, Audi for violating anti-trust rules

By Xinhua /
 China to punish Chrysler, Audi for violating anti-trust rules

The logo of German carmaker Audi is seen on a S1 car displayed during the company's annual general meeting in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, on May 22, 2014. (Photo / AFP)

BEIJING - Two separate anti-trust probes into Chrysler and Audi have found that the two multinational carmakers had been pursuing monopoly practices and they will receive punishment soon, an official with China's top economic planning agency said on Wednesday.

Li Pumin, spokesman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told reporters that the Chrysler investigation was launched by the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission and the Audi probe was conducted by the Hubei Province Price Bureau.

The two investigations are drawing to an end, he said, without specifying details of the punishment.

A report from China National Radio said investigations had found that the two companies took over the pricing rights for parts and maintenance services from dealerships.

US carmaker Chrysler announced on Tuesday it would slash retail prices of some cars and parts in China by an average of 20 percent.

The newspaper report cited an unnamed source at Chrysler as saying the price cut was a return for customers' long-time support to Chrysler China's three brands, Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge. He added the move was also in response to investigations by China's anti-monopoly regulators. 

Li also confirmed that the Jiangsu Province Price Bureau launched an anti-trust investigation last week into dealers of German auto giant Mercedes-Benz in five Jiangsu cities.

On Monday, inspectors from the Jiangsu Province Price Bureau and the Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission made visits to Mercedes-Benz's Shanghai premises, he said.

Inspectors are still collecting evidence and investigating whether Mercedes-Benz has used monopolistic tactics, Li said.

Mercedes-Benz said on Tuesday it would cooperate with the government in its investigation.

The NDRC is one of three government anti-trust agencies in China. It is in charge of the examination and regulation of price-related monopolistic practices.

According to Li, the NDRC has recently finished investigations into 12 Japanese companies and found monopolistic behaviors in auto parts and bearing prices. Li said the commission will punish them in accordance with the law.

Li said the commission launched anti-monopoly probes into the auto industry at the end of 2011 with the aim to safeguard competition in the market and protect customers' legitimate rights.

China has an anti-monopoly legal system containing an Anti-Monopoly Law, Regulations on Anti-Price Monopoly and Procedural Regulations on Administrative Enforcement of Anti-Price Monopoly.

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