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India anti-trust watchdog fines carmakers

NEW DELHI--India's anti-trust watchdog has fined 14 automakers a total of US$420 million for restricting competition in the spare parts market and driving up prices, a official said Tuesday, a few days after Chinese regulators took similar action.

The Competition Commission of India found domestic automakers and local units of global vehicle manufacturers guilty of “anti-competitive conduct” by restricting the number of spare parts.

The commission said their actions had made parts costlier than necessary for some 20 million Indian consumers, with some markups as high as 4,800 percent.

Among the global companies fined were Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford and General Motors. Local companies fined included Maruti Suzuki, Hindustan Motors and Tata Motors.

Last week China fined 10 Japanese auto parts firms a total of more than US$201 million for price-fixing, reportedly the biggest-ever such penalties, as part of the country's anti-monopoly drive.

The Indian fines come as other market regulators increase their scrutiny and crack down on suspect practices amid public anger over what is seen to be widespread corruption.

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