The upcoming investigation comes after consumers complained that local price cuts by European automakers, in particular, have been insignificant even after the implementation of a free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union.
A ranking executive at an importer that sells German high-end brands confirmed by telephone with Yonhap News Agency that the investigation has been set off by the FTC.
The investigation will go as far as covering from customer services and price adequacy of auto parts to ownership structures of the importers, the FTC officials said.The importers under investigation are those that buy the most popular premium foreign labels, such as Mercedes, Audi and Lexus, from the head company overseas and sell them in the Korean market.
The FTC's move came as luxury foreign cars, mostly imported from Europe, have seldom seen a markdown in their prices even after the free trade pact between Korea and the European Union took effect last July.
Unreasonably high prices of auto parts are another reason for the launch of the investigation due to suspicion of price rigging, the FTC said.
According to a survey conducted by the Korea Insurance Development Institute last year, prices of auto parts for foreign vehicles were 6.3 times more expensive than domestic models on average.
The FTC is scheduled to finish the written investigation by Feb. 20 and proceed with an on-site probe by visiting the firms and dealers. (Yonhap)