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China fines Audi $40M, Chrysler $5M over monopoly charges

Crackdown centers around inflated prices demanded by foreign automakers.

China has reportedly levied a $40.5 million fine against Audi and a smaller $5.2 million penalty aimed at Chrysler, punishing both companies over alleged monopolistic business practices.

Both automakers are accused of maintaining minimum pricing strategies, forcing dealers to command inflated prices for their vehicles, parts and service. Dealerships were also targeted in the crackdown, with total fines reaching over $5 million.

Critics have labeled the crackdown as disproportionately targeting foreign companies, though Chinese regulators argue that more than 90 percent of enforcement actions involving the same anti-monopoly laws have affected domestic companies.

"All types of market players are treated equally in anti-monopoly enforcement," said the National Development and Reform Commission, as quoted by The Detroit News.

Other automakers and parts suppliers are expected to be targeted for their policies in China, where buyers typically pay seemingly exorbitant prices for imported vehicles.

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