SHANGHAI - German car company Daimler said on Tuesday it was helping Chinese authorities with an inquiry after reports that a Shanghai office of its subsidiary Mercedes Benz had been visited by anti-monopoly investigators.
"We confirm that we are assisting the authorities in their investigation," Daimler Greater China said in an email to AFP. It is the first confirmation of an official inquiry into a foreign automaker in China, the world's largest car market, after authorities targeted overseas firms in several different sectors over recent months.
Nine anti-monopoly investigators from China's National Development and Reform Commission visited a Mercedes-Benz premises in Shanghai on Monday, interviewed executives and checked computers, reported Jiemian, a new media platform of state-run Shanghai United Media Group.
It quoted an unnamed source saying that the investigation focussed on "Benz's prices of finished automobiles and its policy of maintaining minimum prices with distributors". The Mercedes-Benz office, in a western suburb of Shanghai, consists of a dealership with a showroom and a service centre.
Several showroom employees told AFP they were unaware of any investigation. But a security guard said the premises were visited by an investigation team two days in a row. "They were here all day yesterday and three or four hours this morning," he said.