Nippon Seiki to Plead Guilt of Price Fixing on Instrument Panels

AutoInformed.com

As part of the plea deal, which will be subject to almost certain court approval, Nippon Seiki has agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation.

Nagoka, Japan-based Nippon Seiki Company has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $1 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of instrument panel clusters installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today. Including Nippon Seiki, eight companies and 11 executives – most of them Japanese – have been charged in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.

Nippon Seiki manufactures and sells a variety of automotive parts, including instrument panel clusters to numerous vehicles manufacturers, including BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi, among others.

According to a one-count felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Nippon Seiki engaged in conspiracies to rig bids and fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of instrument panel clusters sold to an unnamed automaker in the United States and elsewhere.  Court documents show that Nippon Seiki’s involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as April 2008 until at least February 2010.

DOJ said that Nippon Seiki and its co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by agreeing, during meetings and conversations, to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of instrument panel clusters, sold to an automaker in the United States and elsewhere, on a model-by-model basis.

Nippon Seiki is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of a $100 million criminal fine for corporations.  The maximum fine for the company may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

As part of the plea deal, which will be subject to almost certain court approval, Nippon Seiki has agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation.

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About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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