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Indian regulators slap fine on carmakers for violating competition rules

Competition watchdog officials in India have imposed fines on over a dozen domestic and foreign carmakers for what they said were violations of fair market principles. The focus was on free access to spare parts.

India's pricing regulators fined 14 global and local automakers a total of 25.5 billion rupees ($420 million, 318 million euros), the country's Competition Commission (CCI) reported Tuesday.

The punitive measure was announced after a probe had found that the carmakers in question, including Germany's Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, had engaged in anti-competitive practices in the world's sixth largest auto market.

CCI officials said the carmakers had been restricting access to spare parts which in turn had made their vehicles more expensive for consumers.

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Local carmaker Tata Motors was handed the highest penalty of 13.46 billion rupees, with the fines for individual producers being equivalent to 2 percent of their three-year average India revenue. Regulators said the fine was payable within 60 days.

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"The car companies were found to be using their dominant position in the market for spare parts and diagnostic tools to protect their market for repair services, thereby distorting fair competition," the commission said in a statement.

The penalty imposed by Indian regulators followed heightened competition scrutiny of some major players in the

auto industry in China

where several carmakers have already been fined or are still under investigation.

hg/sri (dpa, Reuters)

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