Yesterday Chinese inspectors raided the Shanghai Mercedes Benz office under suspicion that the German auto-giant was overcharging their Chinese clients. This comes days after they raided Microsoft offices to glean info on its security system and software bundles.
IB times reports on the incident:
“According to reports, the investigators arrived at the office at 10 a.m. local time, and successfully entered the building despite attempts from security guards to stop them. They remained until 9 p.m., questioning staff members and inspecting computers for data.”
And Mercedes likely won’t be the last one investigated:
Local media reports say the investigation will focus on Mercedes price policy in China as well as its relationship with local dealers. More car dealers are likely to be investigated following the Mercedes probe.
Beijing has been investigating claims that foreign car companies over charge their Chinese clients since June this year. Mercedes has dropped prices of its spare parts twice in the last few months.
Although to many, this stinks of a protectionist witch hunt. This raid coincidentally comes right around the time that PLA officers are channeling racist Detroit autoworkers during the Japanese car boom in the US and urging China’s super rich to ditch foreign cars and buy Hongqi H7 “dinosaurs.”
Hopefully this isn’t another instance of a Western giant taking the fall for Chinese-bred corruption as in the case of the ongoing Fast Food fiasco, and many other instances.
[Image via emercedesbenz.com]