Parts Supplies Please Guility to Price Fixing Safety Devices, Wiring Harnesses
Autolive, Inc., an auto parts supplier based in Stockholm, has agreed to plead guilty for the role it played in fixing the prices of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels installed in U.S. cars an automobile manufacturer and a separate conspiracy to fix the prices of seatbelts to another, according to the United States Department of Justice. Separately, an executive of Yazaki Corporation, based in Japan, has agreed to plead guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix prices of automotive wire harnesses and related products installed in U.S. cars.
Autoliv will pay a $14.5 million criminal fine and will cooperate with the oncoming investigation. Kazuhiko Kashimoto, a Yazaki executive, has agreed to serve 14 months in a U.S. prison, to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
According to a two-count felony charge filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Autoliv engaged in conspiracies to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels sold to automakers in the United States and elsewhere from as early as March 2006 until at least February 2011.
According to court documents, Autoliv and its co-conspirators carried out the conspiracies by agreeing to allocate the supply of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels on a model-by-model basis. The department said that Autoliv and the co-conspirators sold the occupant safety parts at noncompetitive prices to automakers in the United States and elsewhere.
According to a one-count felony charge also filed, Kashimoto, along with co-conspirators, engaged in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of automotive wire harnesses and related products sold to a customer in the United States and elsewhere.
Including Autoliv and Kashimoto, six companies and 10 individuals have been charged in the department's ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd, DENSO Corporation, Yazaki Corporation and G.S. Electech Inc. pleaded guilty and were sentenced to pay a total of more than $750 million in criminal fines. Fujikura Ltd has agreed to plead guilty. Additionally, seven of the individuals have been sentenced to pay criminal fines and to serve jail sentences ranging from a year and a day to two years each.