Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Business
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Toyota says Chinese anti-monopoly regulators looking at Lexus as investigation spreads

BEIJING, China - Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday that Chinese anti-monopoly regulators are looking at its Lexus luxury unit in a spreading investigation of foreign automakers.

The company is "co-operating fully with the queries from the authorities on Lexus," said Toyota spokesman Naoki Sumino in Tokyo. He declined to give details.

Authorities said this week that Audi, which is Volkswagen AG's luxury unit, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's Chrysler brand would be punished for unspecified anti-monopoly violations. Mercedes Benz, the luxury brand of Daimler AG, has said it is under scrutiny and a government spokesman said regulators are looking at 12 Japanese companies in the auto industry.

Regulators have not disclosed the basis of their investigation. But customers complain prices of imported luxury vehicles and replacement parts are too expensive. Luxury cars in China can cost up to three times the price charged in the United States or Europe.

The headquarters in Japan of Nissan Motor Corp., owner of the Infiniti luxury brand, was closed for a vacation this week and unavailable for comment.

In an apparent effort to force down consumer prices, regulators have launched investigations of foreign auto, technology, pharmaceutical and dairy companies over the past two years using a 2008 anti-monopoly law.

Audi, Chrysler and Mercedes announced pre-emptive price cuts of up to 38 per cent for vehicles or replacement parts. Another luxury automaker, BMW AG, lowered vehicle prices but has not confirmed whether it is under investigation.

A spokeswoman for a major Japanese components supplier Denso Corp., Yoko Suga, said, "We are not in a position to comment on anything related to any authorities' investigation."

The investigations are fueling unease among foreign companies that complain Beijing uses regulatory measures to hamper them and promote potential Chinese competitors in violation of its free-trade commitments.

Business groups welcomed the 2008 law as a step toward clarifying operating conditions in China. Since then, they have said it is enforced more actively against foreign companies than against their Chinese rivals.

In a case last year, five foreign dairy companies and one from Hong Kong were fined for setting minimum prices that distributors were required to charge. That is a common practice in some other countries but regulators said it interfered with market forces and forced consumers to pay higher prices.

Regulators also are investigating Microsoft Corp.; Qualcomm Inc., a San Diego, California-based supplier of chips used by Chinese manufacturers of smartphones and other mobile devices, and InterDigital Inc., of Wilmington, Delaware, which licenses technology patents.

In those cases, the government has said it was looking into whether they abused their market dominance to charge excessively high prices.

___

Kageyama reported from Tokyo.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Election 2014
Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media

Canadian Mortgage Rates