South Korea's antitrust watchdog has launched an investigation into four major foreign car importers for alleged unfair practices, according to the Maeil Business Newspaper.

The four importers are the Korean operations of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi Volkswagen and Toyota.

The newspaper reported that the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) sent officials into the companies to look into whether they had used their dominant position over local dealers to distort car prices and to see whether this affected the price of parts or services.

The KFTC conducted written investigations into the foreign car importers early last year, the report added.