China will soon slap a penalty on an un-named U.S. automaker for monopolistic behaviour, the official China Daily newspaper reported on Wednesday, quoting a senior state planning official.
Investigators found the U.S. company had instructed distributors to fix prices starting in 2014, Zhang Handong, director of the National Development and Reform Commission’s price supervision bureau, was quoted as saying.
News of the penalty comes at a sensitive time for China-U.S. relations after U.S. president-elect Donald Trump called into question a long-standing U.S. policy of acknowledging that Taiwan is part of “one China”.
Beijing maintains that self-ruled Taiwan is a wayward province of China and has never renounced the use of force to take it back.
Zhang was quoted in an exclusive interview with the newspaper as saying that no one should “read anything improper” into the timing or target of the penalty.
The article did not give further details.
An alliance between Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor could be a boon to both sides, helping the former gain ground in emerging markets such as India and giving the latter the engineering needed to compete in an increasingly high-tech industry.
Can’t go it alone
The two automakers said Wednesday they were discussing collaboration on environmental, safety and information technology.
Although Toyota President Akio Toyoda told a new conference that the idea of an alliance came together in just two business days after Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki got the ball rolling, there is more to the story. Suzuki’s next partner had been the subject of speculation since August 2015, when the Japanese maker of economy cars ended a capital and business relationship with Germany’s Volkswagen over management conflicts.
Though Chairman Suzuki had said publicly that his company would look to remain independent going forward, another senior executive had acknowledged that collaboration was “necessary” in some fields. Even in India, a successful market for Suzuki, environmental regulations are growing tougher, making investment in technology like hybrid drive systems essential. Rising incomes have also stoked demand for higher-end vehicles in such countries.
Finding a big automaker ally was seen as essential for Suzuki to ensure a presence in self-driving cars. While a Toyota or a Volkswagen has the financial strength to counter the challenge posed by Google and other tech giants in this field — Toyota’s annual research and development budget comes to around 1 trillion yen ($9.59 billion) — Suzuki, which spent just 130 billion yen on R&D in the year ended March 31, hardly stands a chance alone.
The Toyota group plans to build some 10.3 million automobiles worldwide this year, with record production in North America and China seen offsetting a drop in domestic output, The Nikkei learned Friday.
The Japanese automaker is set to hit another industry record. Production will top the 10 million mark for the second straight year, following planned output of 10.12 million vehicles for 2013. The figure includes production by group firms Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors.
The parent firm, which handles the Toyota and Lexus brands, anticipates record production of more than 9.1 million units, compared with a target of 8.9 million for last year. Domestic output is seen declining by 250,000 from the 2013 plan to around 3.1 million vehicles on account of the consumption tax hike in April, but overseas output is estimated at 6 million units, up 450,000.
The parent expects to build roughly 2 million units in North America, an all-time high. In the U.S., where sales of new autos are strong thanks to an economic recovery, Toyota aims to boost sales by 3% to 2.3 million units. Plans call for expanding local production partly by shifting SUV manufacturing from Japan to the U.S. Read More