GM could be next in line in China’s antitrust probe image

The US automaker announced that its passenger-vehicle joint venture in the country was contacted by China’s anti-monopoly enforcer. The communication was part of the ongoing antitrust investigation that prompted another seven automakers to lower prices.

According to the company, the contacts have been regular and were established since the probe ensued. Shanghai GM, the venture between the US carmaker and SAIC Motor Corp. “actively responded” since 2012 to the National Development and Reform Commission’s comments and requests.

“We have continuously strengthened the company’s operations and management,” the company said. “Shanghai GM will continue to provide high-quality products and services in accordance with national regulations and policies, and is committed to strengthening the value for money of its products.”

According to the automaker, Shanghai GM’s models are usually ‘‘priced at a reasonable level, with almost no markups in sales,” and Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac vehicles have an average tally of replacing all parts of 300% (of the price of a new car), in line with the levels found on the US and European markets.

The price supervision and anti-monopoly regulator, also China’s main economic planner, has successfully forced seven carmakers in the past month to cut prices of services, products or spare parts. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda were all under scrutiny and moved to lower prices. Besides that, separately, Audi’s Chinese joint venture with FAW-Volkswagen will face penalties for breaching the anti-monopoly law.