A $5.1 million criminal fine will have to be paid by TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH -- a German subsidiary of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. -- as it has agreed to enter a guilty plea to getting involved in a conspiracy on the prices of air bags, steering wheels and seatbelts, according to the Justice Department and the company. The investigation of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division into this matter has resulted to settlements with six other companies. The European Commission has a parallel investigation. It’s possible that an employee at this subsidiary will face U.S. prosecution. The TRW subsidiary will plead guilty to one count of price-fixing in the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
According to the department, TRW and other companies have agreed to break up the market for seat belts, airbags and steering wheels so that they may be sold at elevated prices. TRW Automotive Chairman and CEO John Plant released a statement, asserting that the actions related to the DOJ settlement is in conflict with what TRW stands for and are not consistent with its policies.
As soon as the company learned about the probe, it has moved very quickly to cooperate with the DOJ (Justice Department) so that this matter could be brought to a resolution. Last year’s sales reached $16.2 billion. Six other firms have entered a guilty plea in this matter. These six companies are Swedish auto parts company Autoliv, Fujikura Ltd., Furukawa Electric Co., Denso Corp., Yazaki Corp. and G.S. Electech. They will be paying over $785 million in criminal fines.