It’s like your father always told you; any friend that slaps you with unanticipated antitrust fines is not your real friend.
The Chinese government is in the midst of a widespread witch hunt, investigating into possible antitrust breaches within its automotive market. Chrysler and Volkswagen AG’s Audi were just its latest victims, the former being ordered to pay $5.2 million, and the latter, $40.5 million.
Prior to that, over $200 million in fines was levied at Japanese automakers last month.
The charge against FAW-Volkswagen – Volkswagen’s Chinese partnership with China’s FAW – and Chrysler Group LLC, amount to price fixing, in this case, conspiring to establish minimum sales prices for dealers nationwide.
This widespread auto market antitrust investigation is “expected to clean up the auto market and safeguard the legal interests of Chinese consumers,” says the Chinese Association of Automakers. It’s a point of contention, however, as many perceive the fines as simply an avenue for the Chinese government to punish and discourage competition from foreign automakers.
China might be engaging in unfair business practices? Gee. Color us surprised.