·Automobile anti-monopoly: Where is the parallel imported car or the protagonist?

Recently, the news that the "Anti-monopoly Guide for Automotive Industry" (hereinafter referred to as "Guide") was drafted in October and is planned for approval next year has once again aroused the industry's strong concern about anti-monopoly in the automotive industry.
In addition to giving anti-monopoly policy guidance on traditional parts production and supply, automobile sales and after-sales service, the Guide will also provide a clear explanation for the first time whether the controversial auto e-commerce sales behavior may constitute a monopolistic behavior. .
"This anti-monopoly wind has to be completely scraped up." A car dealer who did not want to be named sighed at the "International Finance News" reporter. Since last year, including Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Dongfeng Nissan and many other mainstream car companies and distribution. Businesses have been penalized for varying amounts because of the monopoly involved. Nowadays, the introduction of the "Guide" reflects the country's determination to anti-monopoly in the automotive industry.
Earlier, the eight ministries and commissions jointly issued the "Administrative Measures for the Implementation of Automobile Maintenance Technology Information Disclosure" (hereinafter referred to as the "Measures"), requiring automobile producers to disclose the maintenance technical information of the models sold.
"First out of the "Measures", followed by the "Guide", the national anti-monopoly combination of the car market, will have a certain impact on many domestic car dealers, especially the car dealers of the brand luxury cars." Xu Wei, a researcher in the transportation industry, told reporters.
Punishment strengthens the anti-monopoly guidelines of the automobile industry, including intellectual property abuse, auto industry anti-monopoly regulation, leniency system, exemption procedures, suspension of investigation procedures, and calculation of fines. It runs through all aspects of anti-monopoly investigation and law enforcement from last year. In September, Audi and Chrysler were pushed to the "anti-monopoly tide" before the National Development and Reform Commission issued 12,354 million yuan in price penalties for 12 Japanese auto parts companies, and this year, Mercedes-Benz and Dongfeng Nissan were more than 100 million yuan. Fines, a year, the entire auto industry, dealers, parts and components enterprises in the Chinese auto industry received a total of more than 2 billion yuan of monopoly fines.
"Today, the automobile industry is an important concern of the anti-monopoly law enforcement departments at this stage." Li Wei told the "International Finance News" reporter that this is also one of the signs that the domestic automobile market is gradually becoming mature and healthy.
In order to further standardize and institutionalize the anti-monopoly of the automobile industry in the future, the NDRC began to draft the "Guidelines" document with the authorization of the Anti-monopoly Committee of the State Council. Following the preparatory meeting on June 12 and the working meeting on August 7, the Price Development Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission held the second drafting of anti-monopoly guidelines for the automotive sector on October 9.
According to Xu Xinyu, Director of the Price Supervision Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines Drafting Working Group issued the Anti-Monopoly Guide Questionnaire 1 and Questionnaire 2 to the relevant units in early July and early September, covering vertical price restrictions and non-prices. Restrictions, after-sales parts supply and circulation, availability of after-sales maintenance technical information, after-sales service and warranty terms, etc., the price reform bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission has received more than 80 responses.
The reporter learned from relevant departments that the current "Guide" is still in the process of formulation, and may be released in mid-November, and submitted to the State Council Anti-monopoly Committee around the Spring Festival of 2016. It is reported that the Guide will have more explicit supplements and guidance rules for the automotive industry than the Anti-Monopoly Law for all industries.
"The Guide will better regulate the automobile market and make automobile transactions more orderly," said Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the National Passenger Car Information Association, in an interview with a media reporter.
An industry insider who did not want to be named said: "Diversified competition will undoubtedly cause luxury car sales and after-sales prices to decline to varying degrees. In a more regulated market, the ultimate beneficiary must be consumers."
E-commerce sales or challenge e-commerce platform can not directly carry out car transactions at this stage, can only play the role of collecting deposits, the specific sales process must be completed at the dealer, that is, the car manufacturers still have the opportunity to control the operators It is worth mentioning that manipulating the price of automobile online sales to achieve monopoly is that the Guide will be controversial for the first time in addition to the anti-monopoly policy guidelines for traditional parts production and supply, automobile sales and after-sales service. Whether the car e-commerce sales behavior may constitute a monopolistic behavior gives a clear explanation.
Compared with the first working meeting in August, the second meeting of the anti-monopoly guide for the automobile sector held on October 9th not only has a stronger lineup, including relevant ministries, related industry associations, automobile manufacturers, dealer groups and For parts companies, etc., the topics of discussion are more specific, focusing on the issue of immunity from vertical price monopoly.
Vertical price monopoly refers to the agreement of enterprises at different levels in the market (such as automobile manufacturers and dealers) to manipulate the market price of products; the exemption refers to the discovery of a certain part in the process of applying the Anti-Monopoly Law. These behaviors are consistent with price monopolies and are not prohibited.
“It is particularly noteworthy that the meeting paid attention to the issue of the immunity of e-commerce to low prices (sales).” A person in charge of the industry association told the media, “On this issue, many companies and distributors are responsible for the per capita It is believed that the low-price sales model should be managed and controlled."
The Anti-Monopoly Law stipulates that an important condition for defining a monopoly is that the actor has a dominant position in the market and sells the product at a price lower than the cost. However, there is no authoritative interpretation of the definition of the automotive market. Does it refer to the automotive e-commerce market or the entire automotive market? At the same time, the cost of sales of e-commerce, as well as the cost of automotive products, is currently a more complicated project.
In an interview with the media, Wei Shizhen, a lawyer at Beijing Dacheng Law Firm, said: "If there is a monopoly on the low-price sales of auto e-commerce in accordance with the definition of the Anti-Monopoly Law, it is a difficult concept to define."
At present, whether the future of e-commerce and low-cost car sales including underwriting is defined as a monopoly is still inconclusive. But what is certain is that if this sales model is defined as a monopoly, it will pose no small challenge to the development of automotive e-commerce.
Taking BYD as an example, its sales volume through e-commerce channels has reached 26,000. “The sale on the e-commerce platform can really give consumers a big discount. Even we can take a special model to do this kind of promotion, but this may involve price restrictions.” BYD related people pointed out .
The relevant person in charge of Shanghai Volkswagen made a suggestion that the sales model of auto e-commerce should obtain an anti-monopoly exemption in terms of price restrictions. “The network platform of the general automakers' e-commerce often sets a preferential national promotion price. After placing orders online, the local users actually negotiate with the OEMs on product sales, while the local dealers only pass the whole The order of the depot is transferred to assist the OEM to complete the sales process. Therefore, in the opinion of the person in charge, this is not the car manufacturer's intervention in the sales price of the dealer, and should not be regarded as a price monopoly.
In the eyes of Audi, "the price of many carriers on the e-commerce platform is much lower than the cost price, including the fact that they (the website) do some services behind the VCs to support, the price is much lower than the 4S shop. The e-commerce is not only harmful to the OEM, but also to 4S stores and parts suppliers."
In this regard, Qi Jianshen, vice president of the China Automobile Dealers Association, believes that the problem of low-cost sales of auto e-commerce does exist. Some low-cost car-selling behaviors should be unfair business practices, no matter what new mode of e-commerce, but All markets should be equal, and the anti-monopoly law is to create a fair competitive market environment.
Li Wei told reporters that the "Guide" should explain such a situation. Since the e-commerce platform does not have a dominant market position, more behaviors may be applicable to the price law or the anti-unfair competition law.
Parallel import cars become the protagonists Some automakers restrict domestic parallel import dealers through various restrictions. For example, some auto companies deliberately increase the amount of exhaust gas outside the country, or limit the export of original parts, etc., are these acts suspected of violating antitrust The law does not need to be considered as soon as possible. According to the reporter's understanding, the "Guide" may be further regulated for the intersection of parallel imported cars and the anti-monopoly system.
In the past two years, China has begun to “policy loosening” parallel import auto business, and the monopolistic behavior that may occur in the middle has also been faced by law enforcement agencies.
According to reports, China's growing parallel import car business is encountering the "encirclement and suppression" of multinational companies. For example, a German brand has increased the displacement of the brand's American standard car from 2,979 ml to 3004 mL. The small change in the 25 ml displacement brought about a sharp rise in the cost price. Some analysts believe that the increase in vehicle displacement has led to a comprehensive tax rate of more than 3.0L for US-standard cars imported from 66.19% to 95%, and the price advantage of parallel imported cars is no longer.
At the same time, there are also multinational auto companies that limit the parallel import by limiting the way foreign auto dealers sell their cars to China.
“All brands are still adopting different measures to restrict parallel imported cars through different channels. Whether this constitutes a monopoly is a problem worthy of discussion.” Huang Wei, secretary general of the All China Lawyers Association and Anti-monopoly Committee, told the media. .
In the view of industry insiders, it is still difficult to define a multinational car enterprise to restrict the parallel import car business involving monopoly. However, it is relatively easy to define the measures for these transnational corporations to restrict the “parallel import” of parts and components. For example, if there is a problem with parallel imported vehicles and the brand car companies are required to provide spare parts support in 4S stores around the country, they are rejected; or although they are not rejected, they are discriminated against, or require higher, than the car owners of the same model. The price, the car company that makes similar expressions is suspected of monopoly. Because the supply and repair services for some core components are only available in branded 4S stores, there is irreplaceability in the market.
According to Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the National Passenger Car Association, after the huge monopoly punishment in the second half of last year, "most multinational auto companies have opened the supply channels for spare parts."
However, Cui Dongshu pointed out that on the surface, multinational auto companies have opened up spare parts channels, but actually use price means to continue to control the sales of spare parts.
A luxury brand car dealer revealed to the media, “Usually the price of spare parts sold by multinational car companies is very high, so there is no advantage in circulation in the market. Only some car service providers urgently need some spare parts. We buy, and the quantity is very small."
Shi Jianzhong, vice president of China University of Political Science and Law, said that whether the actions that hinder the parallel import of complete vehicles and accessories may lead to serious channel and price restrictions, and thus substantially damage the market competition, if the Guide can respond, it will be parallel to the implementation. The import policy has played a positive role in promoting.

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