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Carmakers fined US$420 million in India for anti-competitive practices

THE Competition Commission of India (CCI) has fined 14 global and domestic carmakers a total of INR25.5 billion (US$420 million) after it found they were restricting access to spare parts, resulting in higher prices in 2011.

The Indian probe follows heightened regulatory scrutiny of the auto industry in China, the world's largest auto market. China National Development and Reform Commission have fined several global car and spare parts makers.

India's pricing regulator listed the automakers fined as the local unit of Honda Motor, Toyota Motor, Volkswagen and its unit Skoda Auto, BMW, Daimler AGO's Mercedes-Benz, Fiat SpA, Ford Motor, General Motors and Nissan Motor, reported Reuters.

Local carmaker Tata Motors Ltd was handed the highest penalty of INR13.46 billion. The other Indian carmakers fined were Maruti Suzuki, Hindustan Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.

The fine, equivalent to two per cent of the carmakers three-year average India revenue, is payable within 60 days, the regulator said.

"The anti-competitive conduct has restricted the expansion of spare parts and independent repairers segment of the economy to its full potential, at the cost to consumers, service providers and dealers," it said in the statement.

Ford's India unit said in a release that it was reviewing the order and its implications, adding that the company had been working to enhance the availability of parts.

A Tata Motors spokeswoman also said the company would study the CCI order before comment. Mahindra & Mahindra said it planned to appeal. Honda was not available for comment, nor was Maruti.