Japanese Auto Parts Supplier Involved in a Bid-rigging Cartel Targeting Cars Made in Canada
February 20, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
Following an investigation by the Competition Bureau, Panasonic Corporation (Panasonic) was fined $4.7 million by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for its participation in a bid-rigging conspiracy. Panasonic pleaded guilty to two counts of bid-rigging under the Competition Act.
The evidence shows that Panasonic conspired with another Japanese motor vehicle components manufacturer to coordinate their respective responses and to agree on which party would win bids submitted in response to requests for quotations to supply Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. (Toyota) with certain types of switches and sensors used in motor vehicles, namely turn switches, wiper switches, steering wheel switches and steering angle sensors.
- Panasonic’s plea relates to certain types of switches and sensors supplied to Toyota for the 2008.5 Toyota Corolla, the 2008.5 Toyota Matrix, the 2008 Toyota RAV4 and the 2009 Lexus RX 350 models manufactured in Canada.
- There is no allegation of wrongdoing against Toyota, the customer of the companies under investigation.
- The Bureau’s investigation, which began in December 2009 by way of its Immunity Program, is part of a large international cartel investigation relating to the supply of various motor vehicle components.
"Today’s guilty plea is another example of the Bureau’s commitment to pursue those involved in cartel conduct, wherever they are located. Canadians can rest assured that we will continue our important work in this area."
"Companies need to comply with the law and cartelists will be penalized for defrauding Canadians. Cracking down on cartel offences remains a top priority for the Bureau."
- In 2010, Panasonic was fined $1.5 million for fixing the price of hermetic compressors used in refrigeration equipment.
- On April 4, 2013, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. was fined $5 million for rigging bids for electrical boxes.
- On April 18, 2013, Yazaki Corporation was fined $30 million for rigging bids for wire harnesses.
- On July 12, 2013, JTEKT Corporation was fined $5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- On January 30, 2014, NSK Ltd. was fined $4.5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- Immunity Program
- Leniency Program
- Presentation: Bid-rigging: Awareness and Prevention
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.