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Auto price-fixers fined R4bn

2012-02-01 10:15

THE SCENE: Japanese auto suppliers have agreed to hefty fines and the imprisonment of certain exectives for their parts in price-fixing and rig-bidding schemes.

Two Japanese auto suppliers involved in price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracies have agreed to pay more than R4-billion ($549-million) in fines for activities committed over more than a decade.

The Detroit News reports that Yazaki and Denso have agreed to pay $ 470-million (R3.6billion) and $78-million (R608-million), respectively, for the price fixing.

Four of the companies’ executives agreed to plead guilty and will serve prison time in the US, ranging from 15 months to two years.

The US Justice Department, as part of a worldwide investigation, investigated schemes by the suppliers to keep the prices of instrument panels and other auto parts high, the Detroit News reported.

The Justice Department said the price fixing, which went on for at least 10 years, boosted vehicle prices around the world and affected manufacturers in the US, Japan and Europe. Similar schemes in Japan and Europe are also being investigated. 


The companies are alleged to have carried out the conspiracies by agreeing to allocate the supply of products and co-ordinate price adjustments requested by automobile manufacturers. They also sold electrical components to automakers at inflated prices and held meetings to monitor and enforce their bid-rigging and price-fixing scheme.

Yazaki chairman Yasuhiko Yazaki will return 50% of his pay for three months, as will the company's president. Denso executives will also take temporary pay cuts, the Detroit News reported.

The fines will reportedly go into a fund for victims but the US Justice Department declined to say who qualified.

The latest fines come just months after a third Japanese auto supplier, Furukawa Electric, pleaded guilty to its role in a wire-harness price-fixing and bid-rigging scheme and was fined $200-million.

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