Mercedes-Benz could face a multi-million-pound fine after the carmaker was reportedly found guilty of artificially inflating the cost of spare parts in China.
Regulators claimed the luxury unit of Daimler used its power to regulate the level of parts, boosting the price, according to the official Xinhua news agency. It follows similar investigations into BMW, Audi and Chrysler.
Fines of up to 10 per cent of a company’s China revenues can be imposed under a 2008 anti-monopoly law. The Jiangsu Province Price Bureau raided several Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the province and an office in Shanghai.
“It is a typical case of a vertical monopoly in which the carmaker uses its leading position to control the prices of its spare parts, repair and maintenance services in downstream markets,” Zhou Gao, chief of the anti-trust investigation, told Xinhua.
The agency claimed the cost of replacing all the parts of a Mercedes-Benz C Class could be the same as buying 12 new cars.
Mercedes-Benz today said: “We confirm we are assisting the authorities in their investigation. Please understand that we are unable to comment further on what is still an ongoing matter.”