Price-fixing rocks US automakers
Three class action law suits have been filed against major auto suppliers in the US after allegations of price-fixing.
The Detroit News reports that the companies are believed to have engaged in a “massive decade-long conspiracy to unlawfully fix and artificially raise the price” of wire-harness systems.
Delphi Automotive, Lear Corp., Furukawa Electric, Leoni, Sumitomo Electric, S-Y Systems Technologies and Yazaki were named in the suits which also note that the US Justice Department, European Union and Japanese authorities have been investigating the wire-harness systems market since February 2010.
The Justice Department, the DetNews reported, said the conspiracy started in January 2000 and lasted until these investigations began.
The suits were filed by three vehicle owners who argue the higher prices of the harnesses, electrical distribution systems, raised prices of new vehicles. They also sought the return of profits obtained by price-fixing to car buyers.
In September 2011, Furukawa, a Tokyo-based supplier, said it would plead guilty to price-fixing and pay a $200-million (R1.616-nillion) fine as part of a settlement. Three executives agreed to plead guilty and serve prison time in the US.
Sharis Pozen, acting assistant attorney-general in charge of the Justice Department's anti-trust division, said: "As a result of this international price-fixing and bid-rigging automobile manufacturers paid non-competitive and higher prices for parts in cars sold to US buyers," said . "We are going to continue to pursue this."