The European Commission has fined a number of car parts makers a total of EUR141.8 million ($182 million) for participating in five cartels that affected automakers like Toyota Motor Corp and Renault. Among the parts makers sanctioned by the European Commission is Japanese firm Yazaki. The sanctions are expected to be the first of several against car parts suppliers, which are under probe for product price fixing.
The European Commission imposed the biggest fine of EUR125.3 million on Yazaki, which is largest producer of so-called car wire harnessing systems that power up the electronic components connecting a vehicle's computers to various functions.
The Commission likewise fined Yazaki's unit S-Y Systems EUR11 million, Furukawa Electric EUR4 million and German car parts maker Leoni EUR1.38 million. The Commission, however, did not fine Sumitomo Electric, the second largest parts supplier in the world, since it alerted regulators to the existence of the cartel.
The European Commission said car parts affected by the cartels were sold to Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Renault. The cartels were operating between 2000 and 2009. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia remarked that such cartels may "harm the competitiveness" of the automotive industry and artificially inflate prices for "final buyers of cars."
The Commission trimmed the fines for the car parts suppliers by 10 percent, on top of other discounts, after they admitted to participating in the cartels. Antitrust regulators in the United States and Japanese have already penalized several components makers with hefty fines. More than 10 people were already jailed in the US over the matter.