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China fines Ford's Changan joint venture $24 million for violating anti-monopoly law

Key Points
  • China's market regulator on Wednesday said it was imposing a $23.55 million fine on Ford Motor's joint venture with Changan Automobile Group for violating anti-monopoly law. 
  • The fine was equivalent to 4% of the joint venture's sales in Chongqing last year. 
Visitors look at Ford models at Auto Guangzhou in Guangzhou, China November 17, 2017.
Bobby Yip | Reuters

China's market regulator said on Wednesday it has fined Ford Motor's joint venture with Changan Automobile Group 162.8 million yuan ($23.55 million) for violating anti-monopoly law.

The State Administration for Market Regulation said on its website the joint venture, Changan Ford, had set a minimum resale price for its cars in the Chinese municipality of Chongqing since 2013, in breach of the law.

The joint venture did not provide evidence that this complied with the country's anti-monopoly law during the investigation, it said.

"Ford Changan's actions deprived downstream dealers of their pricing autonomy, excluded and restricted competition within the brand, as well as damaged fair competition in the market and consumer's legal interests," it said.

The fine is equivalent to 4% of the joint venture's sales in Chongqing last year, it added.

Ford and Changan did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Shares in Changan Auto fell by over 5 percent after the news on Wednesday morning.

The regulator's move comes as Ford has been struggling to revive sales in China — the second biggest market globally for the Dearborn, Michigan automaker — where its business began slumping in late 2017.

Changan's president told Reuters in April that it expects sales at its Ford joint venture to rebound at the end of this year.