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Saturday, 29 October 2011

More antitrust trouble ahead for parts makers in US

According to Automotive News, investigations in the US into price-fixing in the car parts market have already led to a $200 million fine for Furukawa Electric Co and gaol for three of its executives. That case involved wire harnesses: it is expected that the investigation will look into the supply of other parts, too. Even bigger fines, and more gaol sentences, are likely.
As in the UK system, co-operation with the authorities can secure immunity from prosecution or from civil penalties, and parts suppliers seem to be engaged in an unseemly race to assist the Department of Justice. Wiring harness manufacturers are handing over information about price-fixing in other sectors.
In Europe, the Commission has carried out dawn raids on TRW Automotive and Lear Corp.
In the US, fines for price-fixing are up to $100 million or twice the profit made on the products - and in this case the DoJ is assuming a profit margin of 10 per cent.

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