Mercedes-Benz is cooperating with the National Development and Reform Commission -- China's anti-monopoly authorities -- over a probe into unspecified matters. Local media have reported authorities have raided Mercedes’ Shanghai office. Mercedes confirmed that it is assisting the authorities in the probe.
Mercedes-Benz spokesman Senol Bayrak said the carmaker is only confirming that officials from the antitrust agency visited the Shanghai office as part of a probe. Shanghai-based paper Jie Mian reported that nine officials from the agency’s antitrust investigation team made a surprise visit at the carmaker’s office in the city.
It reported that the team interviewed several senior executives and even confiscated computers as part of a probe. Prior to the raid, Mercedes disclosed it would drop prices on over 10,000 spare parts by an average of 15 percent. It followed a similar cut in prices for repair and maintenance services disclosed in July.
The German luxury carmaker is the latest foreign company being targeted by the NDRC, who have launched anti-monopoly produced in industries like pharmaceuticals and electronics.
NDRC has labeled US chipmaker Qualcomm a monopoly in July and is expected to impose a heavy fine. NDRC also raided Microsoft's offices in four Chinese cities as part of a current probe.
The raids and probes come as China enforces an anti-monopoly law enacted in 2008. It had already imposed substantial fines to some multinational companies like Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. and Danone. [source: automotive news - sub. required]