Firms fined for rigging car part prices

The European Commission (EC) has fined Mitsubishi Electric and Hitachi €137.79 million for rigging the prices of car alternators and starters.

Denso was also involved in the operation, but they were not penalised after they informed the EC of price rigging in the sector. All companies involved acknowledged their involvement.

An investigation by the Commission found that between 2004 and 2010, the three companies were meeting one another in their offices and in restaurants, and were also in phone communication on a regular basis in order to limit competition between the three firms.

The investigation specifically revealed that the companies were coordinating responses to calls to tender by vehicle manufacturers to determine bidding prices, sharing projects between each other to determine who would take each contract, and exchanging commercially sensitive information between each other.

In a statement, the EC’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, ‘Breaking cartels remains a top priority for the Commission, in particular when they affect important consumer goods, such as cars.

‘Today’s decision sanctions three car part producers whose collusion affected component costs for a number of car manufacturers selling cars in Europe, and ultimately European consumers buying them.’