China’s market regulator fined Toyota Motor 87.6 million yuan ($12.5 million) on Friday for price-fixing on its premium Lexus cars in eastern Jiangsu province, according to a report on its website.
The decision comes as the country steps up strict regulations over auto sales in the world’s biggest car market, where over 28 million cars were sold in 2018.
The anti-monopoly bureau of State Administration for Market Regulation stated that between 2015 and 2018, Toyota set a minimum sales and resale price for its cars in coastal Jiangsu province, which disadvantaged dealers of pricing autonomy and harmed consumers’ rights.
Lexus also fixed sales strategies in the concerning area over the period, including offering customers discounts while asking them to buy accessories at fixed prices, a sales tactic which is common among individual auto dealers in China but frowned upon for automakers.
A representative at Toyota, Lexus’ parent firm, informed Reuters that the company acknowledged the penalty and respects the decision. He did not elaborate further.
China’s auto sales are decreasing but Lexus’ sales continue to increase. It sold 180,200 vehicles in the first 11 months this year, a 21% boost from a year earlier.
In June, China’s market regulator imposed a 162.8 million yuan ($23.27 million) fine on Ford Motor’s joint venture with Changan Automobile Group for breaching anti-monopoly law.