Auto parts makers guilty
WASHINGTON — Nine Japanese auto parts manufacturers and two of their executives will plead guilty and pay $740 million in criminal fines for conspiring to fix the prices of more than 30 products sold to many of the world's largest automakers operating in the United States, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.
The action is the latest development in the largest criminal investigation the Justice Department's criminal division has carried out. To date, it has resulted in charges against 20 companies and 21 executives, and the companies have agreed to pay $1.6 billion in criminal fines.
From steering assemblies to seat belts, the price-fixing conspiracies went on for more than a decade and affected more than $5 billion in auto parts sold to American car manufacturers and installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere. In all, more than 25 million cars purchased by American consumers have been affected by the illegal conduct.
“As a result of these conspiracies, Americans paid more for their cars,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference. American companies such as Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. were affected, as were U.S. subsidiaries of Honda Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Mitsubishi, Nissan Motor Co., Subaru and Toyota Motor Corp.
The government will continue to “check every hood and kick every tire” to end the price fixing, Holder said.
Company executives used code names and met face to face in remote locations in the United Sates and Japan to rig bids, fix prices and allocate the supply of auto parts, the government alleged.
Seventeen of the 21 executives charged so far have been sentenced to serve prison terms or have plea agreements calling for significant time behind bars.
The companies charged on Thursday are Hitachi Automotive Systems, Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsuba, Jtekt, NSK, T.RAD, Valeo Japan and Yamashita Rubber.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nutritional supplement makers, led by GNC, want to create voluntary safety standards
- Many Black Friday deals not worth the hassle
- Smartphones expected to overtake desktops for holiday shopping
- Signs of steady U.S. economy: Pay, home sales up, unemployment applications down
- Powder metals fabricator Atlas Pressed Metals diversifies appeal to customers
- Take steps to make it harder for holiday hackers
- Union leaders warn Post-Gazette newsroom of possible layoffs
- Covestro leader MacCleary finds stability amid change
- Stocks finish flat before Thanksgiving holiday; energy firms give back some gains
- Auto review: Cadillac CTS-V makes big impression with speed, power, comfort
- Stocks shake off Middle East tensions, drop in consumer confidence