Several automakers in China, including joint ventures with Nissan, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, are in hot water because their dealers are allegedly overcharging customers for repairs. China Central Television, the country's state broadcaster, leveled the claims during its annual Consumer Day expose.
CCTV runs these reports each year on March 15 and often takes aim at foreign companies operating within China. This year the focus fell on automakers, according to the Financial Times, and no domestic car companies were targeted. The network also accused dealers of overselling parts, and it took aim at Jaguar Land Rover specifically for problems surrounding transmission repairs, according to Reuters.
The yearly stories are often criticized for focusing on outside businesses. "It panders to a certain type of nationalism as it tends to target foreign companies and rarely touches large state groups or monopolies," Qiao Mu, a journalism professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said to the Financial Times.
Foreign automakers seem to face tighter scrutiny when doing business in China than their domestic counterparts, in general. The government there investigated several luxury brands, including Audi and BMW, last year for how they supplied spare parts and whether the components were overpriced. Some incurred fines, and Lexus decided to lower its prices. Volkswagen also experienced protests when owners felt the company wasn't handling a recall properly.
The CCTV report also comes as many auto dealers in China are feeling a pinch due to high mandated sales targets from automakers. The situation was so dire in early 2015 several brands cut back sales targets and in some cases even paid the sellers to offset poor profits.