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China fines Mercedes Benz for price fixing

Chinese regulators have fined German car maker Mercedes Benz 350 million RMB (US$56 million) on charges of price fixing, Deutsche Welle has reported27 Apr 2015

The Daimler subsidiary was fined for breaking anti-monopoly laws by setting minimum prices that dealers had to charge for cars and replacement parts. Chinese regulators see this as violating free market competition, Deutsche Welle said.

In a statement, the Chinese regulator said: "The investigation found Mercedes-Benz and its dealers in Jiangsu came to and carried out monopoly agreements to cap the lowest sales prices of E-Class, S-Class models and certain spare parts."

Some local regulators were also fined 7.7 million RMB, the BBC said.

Mercedes Benz confirmed in a statement to Out-Law.com that "Jiangsu Provincial Price Bureau has undertaken an antitrust investigation with Mercedes-Benz and its authorised dealers in Jiangsu Province. The authority has decided to impose a penalty on Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz China accepts the decision and takes its responsibilities under competition law very seriously. Mercedes-Benz China has taken all appropriate steps to fully comply with the law."

Audi and Chrysler were fined Rmb250m and Rmb32m respectively for similar competition law violations in September, the Financial Times said.

In August 2014, China fined 10 Japanese auto parts firms a total equivalent to more than $200 million for price-fixing.