WASHINGTON — Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. agreed to plead guilty to fixing the price of shock absorbers installed in U.S. autos, and to pay a criminal fine of $55.48 million, the Justice Department said in a statement on Tuesday.
Hitachi had pleaded guilty in 2013 to fixing the price of starters and other auto parts, the department said.
According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Hitachi Automotive worked with unnamed competitors from the mid-1990s to 2011 to decide who would provide shock absorbers to which buyers and to coordinate prices.
Suzuki Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. were the customers, the complaint said.
The Justice Department has been investigating price-fixing in the auto supply chain for at least six years and it has now become the largest such criminal prosecution in U.S. history.
Including Hitachi Automotive Systems, 46 companies and 64 executives have been charged in the division’s ongoing investigation and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.8 billion in criminal fines, the Justice Department said in today’s press release.
Similar price-fixing investigations have been ongoing in Europe and Asia.
Automotive News contributed to this report.
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