| July 17
July 17 Ford Motor Co has sued Japanese
auto-parts supplier Fujikura Ltd, claiming a conspiracy
to fix the prices of electrical systems used in vehicles, the
latest civil lawsuit filed in the wake of a related criminal
investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.
The government's probe has resulted in guilty pleas or
agreements to plead guilty by 10 companies, including Fujikura.
Last year it pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $20 million fine
to resolve the government's allegations that it participated in
a conspiracy to fix the prices of wire harnesses, which allow
data and electrical power to be transmitted throughout a
In its lawsuit, filed in Detroit federal court on Tuesday,
Ford said that Fujikura and alleged co-conspirators agreed not
to compete with one another to sell Ford wire harnesses.
Ford said that it spent more than $10 billion on wire
harnesses between roughly January 2000 and around February 2010,
when it alleges a conspiracy took place.
The lawsuit seeks three times the damages Ford suffered as a
result of paying what it said were artificially high prices for
An attorney for Ford declined to comment, as did Fujikura.
Since 2012, several class actions have been filed by
consumers, car dealers and others alleging conspiracies to keep
the prices of auto parts artificially high. Those lawsuits have
been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani in
Detroit federal court.
The Justice Department has called the auto-parts
price-fixing investigation, launched in 2010, its biggest
criminal antitrust probe ever in terms of scope and volume of
commerce. It has said 10 companies and 15 executives have to
date agreed to pay a total of $828 million in criminal fines.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that Japan's
Diamond Electric Manufacturing Co Ltd had agreed to plead guilty
and pay a $19 million fine for a conspiracy to fix prices of
ignition coils sold to Ford.
The latest suit is Ford Motor Co v. Fujikura Ltd and
Fujikura Automotive America LLC, U.S. District Court, Eastern
District of Michigan, No. 13-13055.