Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd. has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $26 million fine for its alleged role in an international conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for parts sold to Japanese auto makers, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced.
The DOJ filed the two-count felony charge Sept. 29 with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Toledo. Toyoda Gosei was charged with price fixing and bid rigging under the Sherman Act.
According to the document, Toyoda and some of its subsidiaries conspired to rig bids and fix prices for automotive hoses, airbags and steering wheels sold to Toyota Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which sells vehicles under the Subaru brand name.
Toyoda Gosei's involvement in the automotive hoses conspiracy lasted from at least February 2004 to September 2010, according to Justice. Its involvement in the airbag and steering wheel conspiracies lasted from at least September 2003 to September 2010, the agency said.
The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the Toledo court, the DOJ said.
The action against Toyoda Gosei is the latest event in an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into alleged price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the auto parts industry, the DOJ said. Toyoda Gosei is the 29th company to plead guilty in the investigation, in which the DOJ has levied a total of $2.4 billion in fines.
Forty-three individuals, all executives of the accused companies, have also been charged with criminal activities.