Toyota says Chinese regulators looking at Lexus

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 8, 2014 at 1:53 am •  Published: August 8, 2014
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BEIJING (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday that Chinese anti-monopoly regulators are looking at its Lexus luxury unit in a spreading investigation of foreign automakers.

The company is "cooperating fully with the queries from the authorities on Lexus," said Toyota spokesman Naoki Sumino in Tokyo. He declined to give details.

Authorities said this week that Audi, which is Volkswagen AG's luxury unit, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's Chrysler brand would be punished for unspecified anti-monopoly violations. Mercedes Benz, the luxury brand of Daimler AG, has said it is under scrutiny and a government spokesman said regulators are looking at 12 Japanese companies in the auto industry.

Regulators have not disclosed the basis of their investigation. But customers complain prices of imported luxury vehicles and replacement parts are too expensive. Luxury cars in China can cost up to three times the price charged in the United States or Europe.

The headquarters in Japan of Nissan Motor Corp., owner of the Infiniti luxury brand, was closed for a vacation this week and unavailable for comment.

In an apparent effort to force down consumer prices, regulators have launched investigations of foreign auto, technology, pharmaceutical and dairy companies over the past two years using a 2008 anti-monopoly law.

Audi, Chrysler and Mercedes announced pre-emptive price cuts of up to 38 percent for vehicles or replacement parts. Another luxury automaker, BMW AG, lowered vehicle prices but has not confirmed whether it is under investigation.

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