SHANGHAI Jan 8 China will allow selected auto
dealers registered in Shanghai's free trade zone to import and
sell cars without the consent of foreign carmakers, according to
an official notice published late on Wednesday.
The launch of the pilot programme to allow so-called
"parallel imports" of cars had been widely anticipated and
analysts have said the move could put downward pressure on
certain models, especially those in the premium segment.
The Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce said in a
notice posted on its website late on Wednesday that dealers
registered in the FTZ with at least five years of operation
history and three consecutive years of profit can apply for the
programme. The cars can be sold throughout the country.
Parallel imports are common in developed countries but often
with heavy restrictions, such as limiting them to direct
purchases by individuals.
Analysts say the latest move could weaken carmakers' control
over prices although foreign luxury carmakers, including Daimler
, BMW and Audi AG, have previously
said the practice would have little impact on their businesses
Gray market goods have long existed in China. Such products,
which are genuine but sold at unauthorised re-sellers, are often
cheaper than those bought at authorized shops but come with
little or no after-sales service or quality guarantee.
According to newly published rules, dealers joining the
programme will be responsible for quality and after-sales
service of the imported cars they sell.
(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Kazunori Takada; Editing by