Auto Parts Price-Fixing Scandal Makes Justice Department History

This is the department's largest antitrust investigation ever

Legal Terms Every Business Owner Should KnowIf you thought the auto industry’s woes couldn’t get any worse, think again. More bad news has hit the scene.

A large-scale auto parts price-fixing conspiracy led to $2.3 billion in fines and guilty pleas from 27 companies, reports the Associated Press.

The scandal was first announced in 2010, following an FBI raid of three Detroit auto-parts suppliers (Denso Corp., Yazaki North America, and Tokai Rika). Since that FBI raid, the situation has ballooned. In fact, the Justice Department says this is the largest antitrust investigation it has ever had.

The current Justice Department Investigation has resulted in 34 people being charged and 27 companies pleading guilty over the past four years. The most recent charge came last week. An executive from a Japanese company was charged with attempting to fix the prices of heater control panels sold to Toyota. The executive has also been charged with coercing workers to destroy evidence.

The scandal has resulted in millions of dollars in extra costs for drivers in the United States.

“Since the raids, the probe has broadened to encompass about $5 billion worth of auto parts, including seat belts, ignition coils, steering wheels, air bags, windshield wipers and rubber parts that dampen vibration,” reports the AP.

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