Ford sues Japanese wiring supplier over price-fixing claims

Gabe Nelson
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: July 17, 2013 3:37 pm ET
Updated: July 17, 2013 4:28 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Legal
Companies & Associations Ford Motor Co.

WASHINGTON — Ford Motor Co. has taken one of its Japanese suppliers to court over claims that the supplier took part in a long-running conspiracy to fix prices of key wiring components.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleges that Fujikura Ltd. and a suburban Detroit subsidiary, Fujikura Automotive America, coordinated with other suppliers from January 2000 until at least February 2010 to set artificially high prices on wire harnesses supplied to Ford.

Ford says in the lawsuit that it spent $10 billion over that period on wire harnesses, which link all of the electronic systems built into cars, and "was forced to pay substantially higher prices for wire harnesses than it would have paid absent the conspiratorial conduct."

The lawsuit does not say how much Ford believes it lost, but the automaker wants its money back. The lawsuit seeks triple damages for Ford's losses, as allowed by law.

A spokeswoman for Fujikura did not immediately reply today to a message seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is just the latest in a series of allegations of global price-fixing and bid-rigging in the multibillion-dollar market for wire harnesses, which Ford describes as "the nerve center of every vehicle."

A government probe into the market became known to the public in 2010, when FBI agents raided the U.S. offices of Yazaki North America Inc., Denso International America Inc. and Tokai Rika Group North America.

So far, the U.S. Department of Justice has levied $828 million in fines, convicted 15 executives of wrongdoing and secured guilty pleas from 10 suppliers. The latest one ensnared was Diamond Electric Manufacturing of Osaka, Japan, which will plead guilty to price-fixing charges and pay a $19 million fine, the department said Tuesday.

The government probe could spread farther. The investigation "has grown over time and is broader than what we've announced so far," said Scott Hammond, the deputy assistant attorney general, in February.

The investigation also has spread to Europe. Reuters reported that the European Commission fined four wire-harness suppliers $182 million last week for their role in cartels that affected Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Renault.

The global market for wire harnesses was $26.9 billion in 2010, according to data from the market research firm Research in China cited in Ford's lawsuit.

The Detroit News reported the suit on Tuesday.


Comments

Ford sues Japanese wiring supplier over price-fixing claims

Gabe Nelson
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: July 17, 2013 3:37 pm ET
Updated: July 17, 2013 4:28 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Lund adds to aftermarket auto products portfolio with buy of Bushwacker

January 29, 2015 2:49 pm ET

Lund International Inc. has expanded its portfolio of plastic aftermarket vehicle accessories by acquiring Bushwacker Inc.    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Losing weight with style, plastics in the Dragons' Den

January 29, 2015 6:00 am ET

A 19-year-old entrepreneur brings business to a U.K. injection molder after winning support on TV's Dragons' Den, auto suppliers combine...    More

Image

Plastics help Volt hit new target

January 28, 2015 1:54 pm ET

The 2016 Volt, unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, features a sportier exterior design — GM calls it...    More

Image

Bain buying TI Automotive

January 27, 2015 8:49 am ET

After months of speculation, Auburn Hills, Mich.-based TI Automotive Ltd. entered into an agreement Tuesday to be acquired by private equity firm...    More

Image

Auto industry on the hunt for new lightweight materials

January 26, 2015 4:03 pm ET

The auto industry is focusing on lightweighting, and this is igniting a race to find new materials that can meet ever-changing performance needs of th...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

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

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

More Events