China has announced fines against German car companies Audi and BMW after accusing them of flouting the country’s anti-monopoly law.
Reuters reports that Audi will face a fine of around 250 million yuan (about $40 million dollars). The news came from the 21st Century Herald, a business newspaper in China. In addition, four BMW dealerships in the country’s Hubei province will be subjected to a fine of 1.6 million yuan (approximately $260,000), according to China’s Xinhua news agency.
Chinese authorities had announced on Aug. 6 that they would punish both Audi and Chrysler for violating anti-trust regulations, according to the China Daily, a pro-government paper. Action against Chrysler has yet to be announced.
The fine against Audi is significantly less than its sources in China had believed it could be, according to the South China Morning Post. The paper quoted sources as saying the fine could have been as high as 1.8 billion yuan.
Agence France-Presse reported that Audi had accepted that it would pay a penalty, and quoted an Audi China spokesperson as saying: “Management processes in the sales and dealership structure are getting improved to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
The People’s Daily reports that some foreign automakers charge Chinese consumers higher prices than they do to those in the United States or Europe. China, which has launched investigations into the local business practices of several foreign companies across sectors, is also investigating 12 Japanese companies.