It's been a topsy-turvy summer for foreign businesses in China ever since that country's National Development and Reform Commission and State Administration for Industry & Commerce launched a horde of investigations into anti-monopoly practices. When the law outlining monopolistic behavior was passed in 2008 foreign companies appreciated it, expecting it to illuminate some of the more opaque corners of Chinese government enforcement. That hasn't exactly been the case, and now as more than 1,000 auto-sector firms get investigated and pay huge fines to settle the nebulous charge of having prices that are too high, that hoped-for clarity is all but gone.
A recent news report said Audi, Chrysler and Daimler "would be punished for unspecified violations" concerning the prices of spare parts. Earlier this month Toyota said that Lexus China was being looked at, and before there's been any public notification of punishment Lexus has decided to lower the price of its replacement parts. From next month, customers will save an average of 26 percent on roughly 15,000 parts. It's unknown whether the move will appease authorities enough to end the investigation, which outside analysts have said targets foreign firms in China over domestic industry.