Chrysler Group is cutting prices in China on the flagship Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 by 65,000 yuan ($10,500) and on the Grand Cherokee 5.7-liter Summit by 45,000 yuan ($7,300) following a report it has been the subject of an anti-monopoly probe by Chinese regulators.
China National Radio, which did not cite its sources, said the National Development and Reform Commission in Shanghai was close to wrapping up an investigation into suspected monopolistic practices at Chrysler. The radio report said Chrysler would be punished in the near future.
Chrysler will also cut prices across 145 high-value and high volume warranty parts, including headlamps, outside mirrors and starters by 20 percent, the company said in a statement.
Daphne Zheng, managing director of Chrysler Group China Sales Limited, said the price adjustments were voluntary and the company would “look for additional opportunities to proactively improve our competitive offer in the Chinese market”.
Daimler AG’s luxury brand Mercedes-Benz is also being investigated by the NDRC.
China is intensifying efforts to bring companies into compliance with an anti-monopoly law enacted in 2008 by taking aim at industries as varied as milk powder and jewelry.
The NDRC, China’s economic-planning body, is probing practices by Mercedes, Audi and BMW AG, and Japanese carmakers to see whether they’re inflating prices for spare parts, people familiar with the matter said in July.
Audi’s Chinese joint venture said late last month that it’s cutting prices as much as 38 percent, and Mercedes said this week it plans price reductions on replacement parts that will average 15 percent starting in September.
Nine officials from the commission’s anti-monopoly department visited the Mercedes office in Shanghai on Monday without an appointment and questioned staff, media reported.
“The timing is a bit confusing” for the Mercedes raid, said Han Weiqi, a Shanghai-based analyst at CSC International Holdings. “It may be because the cut hasn’t met the authorities’ expectations.”
BMW, the world’s biggest maker of premium vehicles, declined Tuesday to expand on comments Monday that it’s in talks with the Chinese regulator about reducing prices for components and that the company had already cut what it charged customers in China for spare parts in the first half of 2014.
Audi’s Chinese unit said in a statement that the carmaker attaches “great importance worldwide” to ensuring it adheres to all applicable antitrust and competition laws.
Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Land Rover unit said last month it cut prices on three models by an average of 200,000 yuan ($32,400) this month.
Some automakers have lowered prices after “they were contacted” by Chinese officials, China Daily reported on July 29, citing Xu Kunlin, director of the NDRC’s bureau of price supervision and anti-monopoly. Xu didn’t provide names of the suspected monopolies, the report said.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.