Ford’s primary joint venture in China has been slapped with a fine of approximately $25 million.
Changan Ford, in which Ford and state-backed Changan hold an equal stake, was fined for setting minimum prices for its dealers in the inland metropolis of Chongqing.
The State Administration for Market Regulation, China’s antimonopoly authority, says Changan Ford’s move deprived dealers of the autonomy to set their own prices.
Other car manufacturers across the country have faced similar fines in the past. The New York Times reports that China has been looking to shape how companies price their products in order to encourage local consumers to buy with greater confidence. Business groups say the Chinese government is more willing to enforce certain rules and regulations during times of geopolitical tension, such as the current one between it and the U.S.
As part of the ongoing trade war between the two countries, the Trump administration recently barred American technology companies from selling components to Chinese smartphone giant Huawei. In response, China recently announced that it is creating a blacklist of “unreliable” foreign companies who harm the interests of local firms.
“Changan Ford respects the decision taken by the State Administration for Market Regulation,” a Ford spokesman said, adding that the company has taken “corrective action in its regional sales management together with its dealers.”
Sales of Ford vehicles across China have slumped this year, falling 35.8 per cent in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2019, while the world’s largest auto market,saw its first slowdown last year after constant, and unparalleled, growth since the 1990s.