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Merc accused of price-fixing in China

Beijing - China has accused Mercedes-Benz of price-fixing, state media reported, amid an anti-monopoly investigation into foreign car companies.

Pricing authorities in the eastern province of Jiangsu have collected evidence that Mercedes-Benz controlled prices of its spare parts and maintenance services, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Mercedes-Benz has reportedly been found guilty of manipulating prices for after-sales services in China. File photo: Carlos Barria. Credit: Reuters

The total cost of all spare parts for a Mercedes-Benz C-class could be 12 times more than a finished model, the report said, citing data from an industry group.

“The Benz case involves typical vertical price-fixing,” Zhou Gao, head of anti-monopoly department at the Jiangsu price bureau, told Xinhua.

The bureau was designated by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) - one of several Chinese government bodies that investigates violations of the country's “anti-monopoly” law - to probe Mercedes-Benz for alleged monopoly actions, said Zhou.

A Daimler spokesperson confirmed on Monday that the company was still “assisting” Chinese authorities in an investigation but declined to comment on the Xinhua report.

“We are unable to comment further on what is still an on-going matter,” the company said in a statement provided to AFP.

Mercedes-Benz said in early August that it will cut spare parts prices from September in response to the anti-monopoly investigation by NDRC.

More than 1000 companies in the country's motor industry, both domestic and foreign, are currently under anti-monopoly probes by the government, the China Daily newspaper has reported.

The NDRC has yet to announce its findings and penalties for the companies involved.

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