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 Automotive, Public Policy, Legal

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

Judge limits scope of jury verdict against JM Eagle

December 19, 2014 2:30 pm ET

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Dec. 18 that last year's jury verdict issued against J-M Manufacturing Co. — now JM Eagle — for...    More

Image

Sabic: Rapid demand growth led to Ultem shortage

December 18, 2014 12:06 pm ET

Sabic Innovative Plastics has been increasing production capacity for its Ultem polyetherimide but it still got caught short by increasing demand for ...    More

Auto supplier M-Tek relocating headquarters

December 18, 2014 3:37 pm ET

M-Tek Inc., a subsidiary of Japanese automotive supplier Kasai Kogyo Co. Ltd., will build a new North American corporate headquarters in Murfreesboro,...    More

Image

Europe puts its 'Circular Economy' recycling effort on hold, for now

December 18, 2014 12:28 pm ET

The European Commission has withdrawn its Circular Economy initiative from its 2015 work program, and will instead replace it with “a new, more ...    More

Image

Indian auto parts maker set to buy assets in Germany, Mexico

December 18, 2014 10:35 am ET

Indian auto parts maker Samvardhana Motherson Gropup is buying the assets of insolvent German plastics car parts producer Scherer & Trier (S&T).    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events