Wed, Aug 27, 2014 - Page 13 News List

India levies fines on automakers

AFP, NEW DELHI

India’s antitrust watchdog has fined 14 automakers a total of US$420 million for restricting competition in the spare parts market and driving up prices, an official said yesterday, a few days after Chinese regulators took similar action.

The Competition Commission of India found domestic automakers and local units of global vehicle manufacturers guilty of “anticompetitive conduct” by restricting the number of spare parts.

The commission said their actions had made parts costlier than necessary for about 20 million Indian consumers, with some markups as high as 4,800 percent.

Among the global companies fined were Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co, Volkswagen GmbH, BMW AG, Daimler AG division Mercedes-Benz, Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co. Local companies fined included Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Hindustan Motors and Tata Motors Ltd.

Last week, China fined 10 Japanese auto parts firms a total of more than US$201 million for price-fixing, reportedly the biggest-ever among such penalties, as part of the country’s anti-monopoly drive.

The Indian fines come as other market regulators increase their scrutiny and crack down on suspect practices amid public anger over what is seen to be widespread corruption.

The competition commission opened its investigation two years ago after it was informed about a shortage of spare parts in India, the world’s sixth-largest auto market.

“The 14 car companies were found to be indulging in practices resulting in denial of market access to independent repairers, as the latter were not provided access to branded spare parts,” the commission said.

“The fines total 25.5 billion rupees [US$420 million],” said the commission official, who asked not to be named.

The Indian fine levied on each automaker represents 2 percent of the affected company’s three-year revenue average and must be paid within 60 days.

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