Autoliv Inc. has reached an agreement to plead guilty in a far-reaching auto parts price-fixing probe and to pay a $14.5 million fine, according to the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Swedish auto parts supplier was under investigation for allegedly conspiring to fix prices of seat belts, airbags and steering wheels that will be used on U.S. cars for a carmaker.
Autoliv was also under probe for allegedly conspiring to fix seat belt prices for another automaker. The antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice, however, did not name the carmakers. According to Autoliv, its role in U.S. case is now concluded as prosecutors agreed not to take legal action against any individuals within the company, with the possible exception of three people in the supplier’s sales unit.
Autoliv chief executive Jan Carlson said that his company cooperated extensively with the DOJ on the investigation, as what happened goes against everything the company stands for. The plea deal with Autoliv underscores the situation that ongoing global antitrust probe has included occupant safety systems suppliers. The antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice previously had named wire harness and heater control suppliers.
Meanwhile, Kazuhiko Kashimoto, a Yazaki Corp. executive, has agreed to a guilty plea for playing a role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of wire harnesses and other car products made in the US. Kashimoto agreed to serve 14 months in a U.S. prison and pay a $20,000 criminal fine. He is the fifth Yazaki executive to make the plea.