Shanghai GM contacted by regulators as rivals pressured to cut prices

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SHANGHAI (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. said its passenger-vehicle joint venture in China was contacted by the nation’s antitrust regulator amid an industry investigation that has seen at least seven foreign carmakers cut prices.

Shanghai GM, a venture between GM and SAIC Motor Corp., has “actively responded” since 2012 to requests from the National Development and Reform Commission’s price supervision and anti-monopoly bureau, and assisted with its investigation and research of the automotive industry, GM said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg News on Monday.

“We have continuously strengthened the company’s operations and management,” the company said, declining to elaborate on the status of the investigation. “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.

China’s main economic planner, which has primary responsibility for oversight of pricing, has pressured carmakers in the past month to cut prices as part of an investigation into the auto industry that started in late 2011. The NDRC has said the probe was meant to ensure market order and protect consumer interests.

Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Chrysler Group, Toyota and Honda have announced price cuts of vehicles or spare parts since July in the wake of an investigation by the NDRC into more than a dozen automakers.

‘Reasonable level’

Shanghai GM’s major models are ‘‘priced at a reasonable level, with almost no markups in sales,” GM said in its statement.

For Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac vehicles, the average sum of replacing all the parts relative to the price of a new vehicle is close to 300 percent, the average level in the U.S. and European markets, GM said.

Replacing all the parts of a Mercedes C-class sedan can cost 12 times the price of a new model, according to an April report by the Insurance Association of China and China Auto Maintenance & Repair Association.

Separately, Audi said today that its China joint venture FAW-Volkswagen will be penalized for violating the anti-monopoly law.

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