China will fine General Motors’ joint venture 201 million yuan ($29 million) for monopolistic pricing, state TV reported, ending speculation after an official earlier warned of penalties against an unnamed U.S. car maker.
Shanghai’s pricing regulator said it would fine GM’s joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp. for setting minimum prices on certain Cadillac, Chevy and Buick models, according to China Central Television.
The U.S. automaker said in an emailed statement:
“GM fully respects local laws and regulations wherever we operate. We will provide full support to our joint venture in China to ensure that all responsive and appropriate actions are taken with respect to this matter.”
SAIC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The fine follows comments by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump questioning the “One China” policy and his naming of Peter Navarro, a hardliner on trade with China, as a trade adviser.
However, there is no evidence that the penalty is a form of retaliation. An official at the National Development Reform Commission on 14th December told state-owned China Daily that the commission would fine a U.S. automaker for monopolistic behavior, sending GM and Ford Motor Co. shares skidding.
Auto industry sources have told Reuters the investigation was already underway before Trump’s recent comments, although it has raised fears that China could be seizing on the case to warn the incoming U.S. administration.
The penalty is the latest against automakers after the commission began investigations in 2011. Audi AG, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. have already been probed.