Japanese Company Fined Over $2 Million for Participating in Bid-rigging Conspiracy
August 20, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
DENSO Corporation (DENSO), a Japanese supplier of motor vehicle components, pleaded guilty to three counts of bid-rigging under the Competition Act and was fined $2.45 million by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (East Region) for its participation in an international bid-rigging conspiracy.
The evidence shows that DENSO conspired with other Japanese motor vehicle components manufacturers 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 motor vehicle components.
This is the sixth guilty plea arising from the Bureau’s investigations involving motor vehicle components, with nearly $52 million in fines imposed by the courts since April 2013.
- DENSO’s plea relates to body electronic control units (Body ECUs) supplied to Toyota for the following models manufactured in Canada: the 2003-2004 Lexus RX and Corolla; the 2005-2007 Lexus RX and Corolla; and the 2008 Lexus RX and Corolla.
- A Body ECU controls the power supply to certain electrical components in the body of the automobile, such as door locks and electric windows.
- The Bureau first learned of cartel activity in the motor vehicle components industry by way of its Immunity Program, after which it began its investigation in December 2009. The investigation also benefitted from the cooperation of numerous companies under the Bureau’s Leniency Program.
- The Bureau’s investigations involving this industry relate 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, primarily by Japanese original equipment manufacturers.
"Today’s guilty plea by DENSO is yet another example of the Bureau’s on-going pursuit of criminal behaviour related to the supply of auto parts to Canadian-based automobile manufacturers. The Bureau will continue to pursue those alleged to have committed crimes in relation to the supply of motor vehicle components and in other sectors of the Canadian economy."
- 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.