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Omron Automotive Electronics Co. Ltd has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $4.55 million criminal fine for conspiring to rig bids on power window switches installed in Honda Civics sold to U.S. consumers, the Department of Justice today announced.
“Omron and its co-conspirators targeted the Honda Civic, one of the best-selling cars in the United States, to benefit themselves at the expense of Honda Civic owners,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Our investigation will continue to hold accountable companies and executives across the auto parts industry who chose to conspire rather than compete.”
According to the felony charge filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Omron, based in Komaki, Japan, and another manufacturer conspired from 2003 to 2013 to rig bids on power window switches sold to Honda Motor Co. Ltd. That conspiracy extended to sales to Honda’s U.S. subsidiaries and affiliates and the switches involved were installed in Honda Civics sold beginning in 2005 and continuing through 2013. The plea agreement is subject to court approval.
Including Omron, 39 companies and 58 executives have been charged in the division’s ongoing investigation and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.6 billion in criminal fines. Omron is being prosecuted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s Detroit Division, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Michigan.
Anyone with information on market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging or other anticompetitive conduct related to products in the automotive industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html, or call the FBI’s Detroit Field Office tip line at 313-965-2323.