Former Takata executive indicted in seat belt price-fixing scheme

Larry P. Vellequette
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: June 5, 2014 2:47 pm ET
Updated: June 5, 2014 2:52 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, United States, Automotive

A federal grand jury has indicted a former top-tier global sales executive at Takata Corp. on a charge of participating in a conspiracy to fix the prices for seat belts, the U.S. Department of Justice said June 5.

Gikou Nakajima, who served as director of customer relations for Takata from 2005 through at least June 2009, was indicted in Detroit on one count of conspiracy to fix prices in violation of the Sherman Act. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, the Justice Department said.

The indictment alleges that Nakajima conspired with competitors to rig bids for the prices of seat belts sold to Japanese auto manufacturers and their subsidiaries for installation in vehicles sold in the United States and elsewhere. He is the fifth Takata executive to be charged in the government’s ongoing auto parts price-fixing investigation.

A spokesman for Takata was not prepared to comment on the indictment. It was not immediately clear who is representing Nakajima in the proceeding.

“The division will not tolerate executives participating in — and directing their subordinates to participate in — conspiracies to raise the prices on automotive parts that are essential to the safety of U.S. consumers,” said Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program, in a statement.

Takata of Tokyo ranks No. 44 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $4.86 billion during its 2012 fiscal year.

The automotive safety products supplier also has been linked to serious quality issues and last year ordered the largest airbag-related recall in history. Seat belt systems typically include both the textile webbing and injection molded housings and functional components.

Takata pleaded guilty on Dec. 5 for its involvement in the conspiracy and was sentenced to a criminal fine of $71.3 million.

Four lower-level Takata executives previously pleaded guilty in the conspiracy and were sentenced to prison time and criminal fines.

Including Nakajima, 35 individuals and 27 companies have been charged in the government’s investigation. Two dozen of the individuals and all of the companies have pleaded guilty and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.3 billion in fines.


Comments

Former Takata executive indicted in seat belt price-fixing scheme

Larry P. Vellequette
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

Published: June 5, 2014 2:47 pm ET
Updated: June 5, 2014 2:52 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Cascade Engineering founder Keller to step down as CEO

September 16, 2014 8:33 pm ET

Cascade Engineering Inc. is undergoing a transition as President Mark Miller will also add the role of CEO, replacing founder Fred Keller, who has...    More

Image

DuPont investing $100 million for more ethylene copolymer capacity

September 16, 2014 1:51 pm ET

Increased packaging demand is leading materials giant DuPont Co. to spend more than $100 million to increase capacity for ethylene copolymers at its...    More

Image

SPE Thermoforming Division picks 3 scholarship winners

September 16, 2014 4:25 pm ET

Three college students have earned scholarships through the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division, division officials announced at...    More

Image

Canadian, Mexican injection molders form auto supply joint venture

September 16, 2014 2:26 pm ET

A new automotive parts manufacturer will open in Querétaro, Mexico, through a joint venture between Canadian automotive supplier Papp Plastics and...    More

Image

American Renolit sees steady gains in the film market

September 16, 2014 11:51 am ET

American Renolit Corp. has changed its product mix, changed its customer base and managed to grow in a market that was initially skeptical about the c...    More

Market Reports

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

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

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

More Events