Being the economic-planning body of China locally known as The National Development and Reform Commission, its aim is to probe practices by a number of carmakers in order to find out if they are inflating the prices of their spare parts. These would include Mercedes, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Audi, and Japanese carmakers.
The Chinese located Audi announced the previous month that it is slashing off its prices by as much as 38 percent. Mercedes, on the other hand, is cutting off prices at an average of 15 percent which shall take effect in September.
"The timing is a bit confusing. It may be because the cut hasn't met the authorities' expectations," Analyst Han Weiqi of CSC International Holdings commented.
According to reports, the investigating officers arrived at the Mercedes Benz office at 10 am Shanghai local time. While the security guards have attempted to stop them, they managed to successfully enter the building. From 10 am, they stayed until 9 pm. During that whole time, they questioned staff members and checked all the computers for data.
Daimler expressed that they cooperated well enough during the raid. "We confirm that we are assisting the authorities in their investigation," company spokesman Senol Bayrak said.
At least nine anti-monopoly investigating officers visited the Mercedes Benz office based in the western suburb of Shanghai. The office is made up of a service center and a dealership with a showroom. Several employees in the showroom said that they did not know anything about the investigation. However, a security guard said that the office had been visited by the investigation team for two consecutive days.
"They were here all day yesterday and three or four hours this morning," the guard said.
Beijing has been investigating several claims that foreign car manufacturers are overpricing their products in China. The car manufacturers responded by dropping their product prices. Mercedes has already dropped their spare parts' prices twice within the last few months.
A number of foreign companies have already been targeted by the Chinese government this year. One of them is Microsoft which had endured raids from anti-trust investigators in its offices found in four Chinese cities. Steven Cao of Edelman, an American public relations firm, had been detained as part of the government's campaign on anti-corruption.
Mercedes is the third biggest maker of luxury cars in the world. After the investigation, the company promised to take the initiative in adjusting the prices of over 10,000 products by Sept. 1. Hopefully, this will help increase the carmaker's competitiveness as far as after-sales services are concerned.