9 car parts makers in Japan to pay $928m penalty for US price fixing

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Nine companies based in Japan and two executives have agreed to plead guilty and pay more than US$740 million (S$928 million) in fines for their roles in long-running conspiracies to fix the prices of car parts sold to car manufacturers in the United States, the Department of Justice said on Thursday.

The department said price-fixed car parts were sold to Fiat affiliate Chrysler, Ford Motor and General Motors, as well as to the US subsidiaries of Honda Motor, Mazda Motor, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor, Toyota Motor and Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru.

In some cases, the activity, which involved separate conspiracies to fix prices of more than 30 different products, lasted for a decade or longer, said Mr Scott Hammond of the department's antitrust division's criminal enforcement programme.

The conspiracies affected more than US$5 billion in parts sold to US manufacturers, "More than 25 million cars purchased by American consumers were affected by the illegal conduct," said Attorney-General Eric Holder.