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Monday, 22 February 2016

Suits target price-fixing parts makers

Automotive News reports that numerous U.S. dealers and consumers are suing parts makers, claiming that price-fixing by the parts-makers meant that they paid more than they should have for their vehicles. The federal government has already brought a number of criminal antitrust cases, resulting (as we've been reporting for a long time) in corporate fines and prison sentences. Now these new civil claims could introduce the cartelists to a whole new world of pain.

Many of the plaintiffs have consolidated their separate cases into two actions, one each for dealerships and consumers, particularly targeting Japan's largest parts supplier, Denso Corp. There are 23 defendants in total, but Denso is seen as the ringleader. Its size, and the number of vehicle manufacturers it serves, also make it the most significant target. It is big enough to have been able to force reluctant competitors into the cartel, as plaintiffs' lawyers say happened.

As is the way in the American courts, the defendants could face triple damages if a jury finds against them. Plaintiff lawyers also stress that defendants could be held liable for damage caused by co-conspirators as well as themselves.

More than 40 dealerships are named as plaintiffs in the other action. For a full listing of dealership plaintiffs and supplier defendants, go to

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