China’s anti-trust probe has expanded to include over 1,000 local Chinese and overseas automotive companies, according to local sources quoting a Chinese government official.
The companies being investigated for price fixing include vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers and dealers. Among the high-profile overseas carmakers that are being investigated are BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors.
A large number of carmakers have announced vehicle or spare parts price cuts in the last few weeks as an initial response to the investigation.
Nissan’s joint venture with China’s Dongfeng Motor Group Co said it paid close attention to the regulator’s suggestions and was actively studying improvements.
Large fines are expected to be imposed on companies found to have operated anti-competitively. Unconfirmed local reports suggest that under China’s anti-monopoly laws guilty companies can be fined between 1-10% of the previous year’s revenues.
Other industries are also being investigated, including telecommunications, chemicals, cement and the drugs and medical equipment sectors.