Japanese company fined $4.5 million for participating in bid-rigging conspiracy
December 11, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
Yamashita Rubber Co., Ltd. (Yamashita), a Japanese supplier of motor vehicle components, pleaded guilty today to two counts of bid-rigging under the Competition Act for its participation in an international bid-rigging conspiracy and was fined $4.5 million by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (East Region).
The evidence shows that, between April 1, 2003 and December 31, 2009, Yamashita conspired with another Japanese supplier of motor vehicle components to rig bids for anti-vibration components and systems sold to Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Honda) for cars manufactured in Canada.
To date, the Bureau’s investigation involving motor vehicle components has resulted in seven guilty pleas and over $56 million in fines imposed by the courts since April 2013.
- Anti-vibration components are rubber and metal parts of different shapes and sizes that are typically custom designed to be installed in specific automobile models’ suspension systems, on engine mounts, doors and frames, on mountings for transmissions, and in other locations, to reduce noise and vibrations in various parts of motor vehicles.
- As part of this conspiracy, the agreements or arrangements concern certain anti-vibration components for certain Civic and CRV models.
- The Bureau first learned of cartel activity in the motor vehicle components industry by way of its Immunity Program, after which it began investigating in December 2009. The investigation also benefitted from the cooperation of numerous companies under the Bureau’s Leniency Program, in which Yamashita also participated.
- The Bureau’s investigation relates to a series of alleged conspiracies and bid-rigging agreements or arrangements among various suppliers in the sale and supply of components used in the manufacture of motor vehicles in Canada and elsewhere.
"International companies who engage in bid-rigging that impacts the supply of auto parts to Canadian-based automobile manufacturers continue to be an enforcement priority for the Bureau. Yamashita chose to plead guilty and cooperate with authorities in Canada. This is another example of how the Bureau’s Leniency Program works to detect and combat cartel offences, whether criminal conduct is committed in Canada or abroad."
- On August 20, 2014, DENSO Corporation was fined $2.45 million for rigging bids for body electronic control units.
- On February 20, 2014, Panasonic Corporation was fined $4.7 million for rigging bids for certain types of switches and sensors.
- On January 30, 2014, NSK Ltd. was fined $4.5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- On July 12, 2013, JTEKT Corporation was fined $5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- On April 18, 2013, Yazaki Corporation was fined $30 million for rigging bids for wire harnesses.
- On April 4, 2013, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. was fined $5 million for rigging bids for electrical boxes.
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.