Automotive supplier price-fixing probe far from finished

By David Sedgwick
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: February 18, 2013 11:55 am ET
Updated: February 18, 2013 11:58 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Legal, Automotive

DETROIT -- The U.S. Department of Justice has levied $809 million in fines, convicted 12 executives and coaxed guilty pleas out of nine automotive suppliers, but its price-fixing probe is far from finished.

The department's antitrust investigation of automotive suppliers "has grown over time and is broader than what we've announced so far," Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond said last week.

The investigation surfaced in 2010 when FBI agents raided the offices of Yazaki North America Inc., Denso International America Inc. and Tokai Rika Group North America.

Regulators in the United States, Japan and Europe have probed suppliers of wire harnesses, bearings, headlights, instrument clusters and thermal systems.

And that investigation could spread further because of a legal tool dubbed Amnesty Plus.

Through Amnesty Plus, the Justice Department offers leniency to suppliers who volunteer information about previously undisclosed price-fixing of other products.

For instance, if a wire harness manufacturer reveals evidence of price-fixing for instrument clusters, it can hope for lower fines.

Says Hammond: "These are incredibly effective incentives for companies to conduct thorough internal investigations."

The fines levied so far suggest that the Justice Department can exert considerable pressure on the suppliers.

In 2011, Japanese supplier Furukawa Electric Co. was fined $200 million, and three Furukawa executives got prison terms ranging from one year to 15 months. Last August, Yazaki agreed to pay a $470 million fine, and a Yazaki executive received a 14-month prison term.

Says Hammond: "Individual jail sentences are the single greatest deterrent -- no doubt about it."


Comments

Automotive supplier price-fixing probe far from finished

By David Sedgwick
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: February 18, 2013 11:55 am ET
Updated: February 18, 2013 11:58 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Plasan investing in capacity, jobs to supply auto market with carbon fiber

September 19, 2014 3:05 pm ET

Growth in the emerging automotive market for carbon-fiber composites has spurred a $29 million investment in a Walker, Mich., factory    More

Image

Toyoda Gosei expanding in Mexico

September 19, 2014 2:33 pm ET

Toyoda Gosei North America Corp. is investing $67 million in a 398,000-square-foot plant in central Mexico to supply the automotive industry with...    More

Exo-s buys injection and blow molder in Mexico, expands footprint

September 19, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Custom molder Exo-s Inc. has bought an injection and blow molding operation in San Juan del Rio, Querétaro, Mexico.    More

Image

Study: 75 percent of Australia's ocean debris is plastic

September 18, 2014 7:48 pm ET

About 75 percent of the trash found in the waters off Australia's beaches is plastic, with most of that coming from local sources rather than sea-...    More

Image

P&G removing PE microbeads from its Crest brand toothpaste

September 18, 2014 1:57 pm ET

After months of prodding, Procter & Gamble Co., the makers of Crest brand toothpastes, say polyethlene microbeads will be completely removed from its ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events