The Japanese automotive manufacturers have been fined for car part price fixing
European Union authorities, who have been investigating the existence of cartels within the automotive industry, have found that Mitsubishi and Hitachi are guilty of price fixing between 2004 and 2010.
The cartel consisted of Denso Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, and Hitachi Limited, all of whom conspired to fix the price of auto alternators and starters between 2004 and 2010. The three Japanese companies allegedly met at each others’ offices, where they agreed to maintain the same price levels for car manufacturers and dealerships across the globe.
The three automotive firms have already been fined by US antitrust regulators in 2012 and 2013, and by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission in November 2012. The US antitrust regulators fined Denso, who manufacture car parts, $78million (£54m).
The EU regulators have fined Mitsubishi and Hitachi €137.8million (£105m), but Denso has escaped the same punishment, as it is they who initially approached the EU regulators to inform them of the cartel. Mitsubishi and Hitachi are to have their fines reduced by 10 per cent for cooperating during the investigations.
The European Commission commented: “Although contacts associated with forming and running the cartel took place outside the European Economic Area (EEA), the cartel affected European customers as alternators and starters were also sold directly to car manufacturers in the EEA.”
EU antitrust regulators are investigating the existence of other possible cartels within the automotive industry, involving the price fixing of car lighting, thermal systems, exhaust systems, seat belts and electrolytic capacitors, to name a few.
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