Mitsubishi Electric Fined Millions for Role in Auto Parts Bid-rigging Conspiracy

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

A major auto industry supplier has found itself on the receiving end of a multi-million-dollar fine north of the border, following an investigation into an international bid-rigging conspiracy.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice leveled a fine of $13.4 million against Mitsubishi Electric on Tuesday for its role in the illegal agreement. The supplier pleaded guilty to three charges, making it only the most recent Japanese supplier to face expensive justice for landing a juicy — but dodgy — parts contract.

According to Canada’s Competition Bureau — an independent law enforcement body — Mitsubishi Electric joined a group of Japanese auto parts manufacturers in the conspiracy:

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.

The Bureau first learned of the scheme in 2009 through its immunity program. That program provides immunity from prosecution to the first whistleblower involved an illegal corporate operation. Since 2013, the Bureau has issued a total of $84 million in fines to members of the conspiracy.

In April of that year, the Bureau fined Yazaki Corporation $30 million. The supplier has pleaded guilty to bid-rigging for its contract for wire harnesses supplied to Honda and Toyota for the 2006 Honda Ridgeline, 2006 Honda Civic and 2006 Toyota Corolla/Matrix models.

One year ago, the investigation saw a $13 million fine leveled against Showa Corporation. The company supplied electric power steering gears for Honda models produced in Canada between 2007 and 2008.

The same investigation has spilled over into the United States, where last year Nishikawa Rubber Company paid a $130 million fine after rigging bids for body sealing products. In that case, Nishikawa gained a contract with Toyota and Honda lasting from 2000 to 2012.

Eight other suppliers involved in scheme have seen fines from the Competition Bureau over the past four years, including Toyo Tire and Panasonic Corporation.

[Image: goodharbor/ Flickr ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Apr 28, 2017

    Boy, I tell ya, you can't go wrong with buying Japanese.

  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Apr 28, 2017

    Based on some quick research this isn't a new thing with Japanese part makers, Denso, Yazaki, and others have been involved. What I'm curious about is how frequent these events are, and who else partakes.

    • See 2 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Apr 28, 2017

      @Sceptic That is very true. Many wars and coups have been orchestrated for the profit of business.

  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)
  • Mister They've got their work cut out for them. I live in a large metropolitan city of 1.2+ million people, the is a single Mitsubishi dealer. It's really more like a used-car dealer that sells Mitsubishi on the side. With the remarkably cheesy name of "Johnny Legends".
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh WHAT !?
  • Jeff Matt--I think this is a good move for Mitsubishi to expand their presence with satellite dealers. I had a 85 MItsubishi Mighty Max and my sister had a 83 MItsubishi Starion. MItsubishi needs to add a compact pickup to compete with the Maverick and the Santa Cruz but offer it for less. A smaller more affordable truck will sell. I believe MItsubishi should still offer an inexpensive subcompact like the Mirage it will sell in a slowing car market with high msrps. Yes I know the Mirage is probably going to be canceled but I believe in these times it is a mistake and they should reconsider cancelling the Mirage. Toyota is having problems selling the new redesigned Tacomas and Tundras with the turbo 4s and 6s. Most Tacomas have MSRPs of well over 40k. There is room for MItsubishi to grow their market share with more affordable vehicles. I am not saying Mitsubishi is going to overtake Toyota, Honda, or Nissan but they should take advantage of the more affordable market segment that these companies for the most part have abandoned. MItsubishi doesn't have to be the biggest just increase sales and become more profitable.