CAR parts manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric Corporation pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of bid-rigging for participating in an international conspiracy and was fined $13.4 million by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Competition Bureau in Ottawa announced.
A Bureau investigation determined that Mitsubishi Electric entered into illegal agreements with a competing Japanese car parts manufacturer. The companies conspired to determine who would win certain calls for bids issued by Honda and Ford for the supply of alternators, and by General Motors for the supply of ignition coils. The calls for bids occurred between 2003 and 2006.
To date, investigations into a series of bid-rigging agreements among car parts suppliers have resulted in the three largest fines ever ordered by a court in Canada for bid‑rigging offences: Yazaki Corporation ($30 million), Mitsubishi Electric ($13.4) and Showa Corporation ($13 million).
Since April 2013, Bureau investigations involving car parts have resulted in over $84 million in fines imposed by the courts in Canada.
“Today’s resolution including this significant fine sends a clear message to the international marketplace that no matter where illegal agreements are conducted, if they affect Canadian consumers, the Bureau will not hesitate to take action,” said Matthew Boswell, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition.
* Alternators charge the battery and supply electricity to the electrical systems, such as the exterior and interior lights while the vehicle is running.
* Ignition coils are used to transform voltage from the battery to the necessary voltage to trigger a spark plug which ignites fuel.
* The Bureau first learned of cartel activity in the car parts industry by way of its Immunity Program which provides immunity from prosecution to the first party to disclose an offence or to provide evidence leading to the filing of charges.
* These car parts investigations also benefitted from the cooperation of numerous companies under the Leniency Program, in which Mitsubishi Electric participated. Mitsubishi Electric also implemented a compliance program to prevent further contravention of the Competition Act.