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 Legal, Automotive
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

Polish injection molder Teknorubber up for sale

August 29, 2014 9:14 am ET

Polish plastic parts maker Teknorubber has been put up for sale following its insolvency filing in March 2014. The company is to be auctioned through ...    More

Image

Concours adding equipment as mold making business booms in Mexico

August 28, 2014 2:05 pm ET

Concours Mold Inc. is heading for a 50 percent increase in sales in Mexico this year after a $4 million upgrade of its plant in Huejotzingo, in the...    More

Image

Canadian mold maker Thibault adding to new operation in Mexico

August 27, 2014 3:19 pm ET

Canadian mold maker I Thibault Inc has purchased an established Mexican company, Tecnimoldes SA de CV, for a seven-figure-dollar-sum and renamed it...    More

Image

New contract for JCI workers heads off potential strike in Ontario

August 25, 2014 3:17 pm ET

About 300 unionized workers at a Johnson Controls Inc. interiors plant in Ontario ratified a new three-year contract, heading off a potential strike...    More

Image

A123 Systems re-energizes its future

August 25, 2014 10:40 am ET

Battery maker A123 Systems LLC has new leadership and a new strategy expected to help the company generate just above a net zero cash flow on revenue ...    More

Market Reports

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

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

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

More Events