Major Wire Harness Systems Manufacturers Face Class-Action Lawsuits for Decade-Long Price Fixing ~ Greatest Vehicles

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Major Wire Harness Systems Manufacturers Face Class-Action Lawsuits for Decade-Long Price Fixing

Three vehicle owners, acting on behalf of many others, have filed separate class-action lawsuits against a number of major automotive parts suppliers, accusing them of conspiracy and price fixing.
The lawsuits, which were filed in the US District Court of Detroit, allege that the parts manufacturers “engaged in a massive, decade-long conspiracy to unlawfully fix and artificially raise the price of wire harness systems” on a global scale.
Wire harness systems manufacturing is a multi-billion dollar business. The companies mentioned in price-fixing, raising the cars’ prices and, thus, harming millions of consumers are: Delphi Automotive LLP, Lear Corp., Furukawa Electric Co., Leoni AG, Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., S-Y Systems Technologies GmbH, Yazaki Corp and its North American unit.
As mentioned in the lawsuits, authorities from the US, the European Union and Japan have been conducting investigations on the matter of wire harness system price fixing since February 2010, with the FBI and EU law enforcement agencies having raided some of the suppliers’ offices.
The most interesting story, however, is that of Tokyo-based Furukawa, which is also mentioned in the lawsuit. Last month, the company made a federal settlement, pleaded guilty to price fixing and paid a $200 million US fine. Three of its executives have also pleaded guilty and received prison sentences ranging from 12 to 18 months.
According to the Justice Department, the conspiracy started in January 2000 and lasted until at least January 2010. Sharis A. Poze, assistant attorney general in charge of the antitrust division, said: "As a result of this international price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracy, automobile manufacturers paid noncompetitive and higher prices for cars sold to US consumers.”
Honda, which was supplied with wire harness systems by Furukawa, says that it was informed earlier this year by the authorities.
Delphi’s spokeswoman Lindsey Williams commented that the company was aware of the lawsuits but was not formally presented with any complaints.
Lear, on the other hand, vehemently denied any involvement in such a global conspiracy stating, “The company believes that the claims against it are completely without merit, and will vigorously defend itself in any litigation related to such claims.”
Story References: Detnews


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