Japanese auto interior supplier Inoac Corp. agreed to plead guilty to fixing prices and rigging bids on parts sold to Toyota Motor Corp. between 2004 and 2012, the U.S. Justice Department said in a Nov. 19 statement.
Nagoya, Japan-based Inoac will pay a $2.35 million criminal fine as part of the agreement.
Inoac is the latest company to be charged in the Justice Department's ongoing, industry-wide investigation into price fixing by auto suppliers. Thirty-eight companies and 58 executives have been charged in the investigation, which has led to $2.6 billion in criminal fines, the department said in a statement.
“Inoac corrupted the competitive process by agreeing with its competitors to fix the prices of certain automotive parts installed in Toyota cars sold in the United States,” Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's antitrust division, said in the statement.
The supplier was charged with a felony for conspiring with its competitors “from as early as June 2004 until at least September 2012” to fix prices and rig bids on plastic interior trim parts including console boxes, glove boxes and assist grips.
“Inoac takes this matter with the utmost seriousness and it has enhanced its existing compliance program to include additional instructions to our employees and additional structures for compliance and monitoring,” Inoac USA attorney Anthony Femminineo said in a statement.
Inoac's U.S. operations are focused on polyurethane foam and interior trim. It had $176 million in injection molding in North America according to the most recent Plastics News ranking of injection molders.
The charge was filed in U.S. District Court Nov. 19.