Osaka, Japan-based Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $120 million criminal fine for its role in two separate conspiracies to fix the prices of automotive components involving anti-vibration rubber and driveshaft parts installed in cars sold in the U.S. and abroad, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to a two-count felony charge that was recently filed in U.S. District Court, Toyo engaged in a conspiracy to allocate sales of, to rig bids for and to fix the prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts it sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries (more commonly known as Subaru) and some of their subsidiaries, affiliates and suppliers.
Toyo and its co-conspirators allegedly carried out the anti-vibration rubber parts conspiracy from as early as March 1996 until May 2012, according to charges filed against the company.
“Today’s charge is the latest step in the Antitrust Division’s effort to hold automobile part suppliers accountable for their illegal and collusive conduct,” said Renata B. Hesse, deputy assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division.
Toyo allegedly engaged in a separate conspiracy to allocate sales of, and to fix, raise and maintain the prices of automotive constant-velocity-joint boots it sold to U.S. subsidiaries of GKN plc, a British automotive parts supplier. According to the charge, Toyo and its co-conspirators carried out the constant-velocity-joint boots conspiracy from January 2006 through September 2010.
Toyo, which has subsidiaries based in Franklin, Ky., and White, Ga., has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, according to the Department of Justice. The plea agreement is subject to court approval.
Toyo and its co-conspirators carried out the accused conspiracies through meetings and conversations. They discussed and agreed upon bids, price quotations and price adjustments, and agreed to allocate among the companies certain sales of the anti-vibration rubber and constant-velocity-joint boots parts sold to automobile and component manufacturers, according to the Department of Justice.