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$130 Million Criminal Fine for Fixing Prices of Automotive Parts

Monday, July 25, 2016
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

A Japanese company has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $130 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of and rig bids for automotive body sealing products installed in cars sold to U.S. consumers, the Department of Justice has announced. Automotive body sealing products consist of body-side opening seals, door-side weather stripping, glass run channels, trunk lids and other smaller seals that are installed into automobiles to keep the interior dry from rain and free from wind and exterior noises. 

DOJ notes that it worked closely with the Competition Bureau of Canada in investigating this conspiracy, which was in place for at least 12 years. The two sides identified affected sales of automotive body sealing products manufactured in the U.S. and then shipped to Canada for assembly into automobiles that were imported into the U.S., and these sales were included as affected commerce for purposes of calculating the fine. DOJ notes that because of the particular facts of this case, including that the company’s conduct primarily targeted the U.S. and that the fine “is an effective remedy in the United States and Canada,” once final judgment is entered Canada will opt to not pursue further enforcement action against the company for the conduct at issue.

DOJ adds that 45 companies and 64 executives have now been charged in its ongoing antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.8 billion in criminal fines.

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