Nine Japanese auto-part firms fined for price fixing in US

Nine Japanese auto-parts companies and two executives have pleaded guilty to charges of price fixing in the United States. As a result, they will pay fines amounting to over $US740 million.

Reuters reports that these latest fines are part of a broader ongoing probe that has resulted in charges against 20 companies and 21 executives. As the Department of Justice said, in total these companies will have to pay $US1.6 billion in fines overall.

The Department of Justice said that the nine companies involved in the latest fines acted separately to fix the prices of more than 30 different products sold to US car manufacturers and installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere.

AAP reports that Hitachi Automotive Systems agreed to pay the largest fine ($US195 million), while Mitsubishi Electric Corporation agreed to pay the second-largest fine( $US190 million).

The seven other companies involved were Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Jtekt Corp, Mitsuba Corp, NSK, T.RAD, Valeo Japan, and Yamashita Rubber.

Gary Walker, a US citizen and former executive of a US subsidiary of a Japan-based automotive products supplier, was one of the fined executives. The other was Tetsuya Kunida, a Japanese citizen and former executive of a US subsidiary of a Japan-based automotive anti-vibration rubber products supplier.

The parts were sold to Fiat SpA affiliate Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co; and to the U.S. subsidiaries of Honda Motor Co Ltd, Mazda Motor Corp, Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Toyota Motor Corp and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd’s Subaru.