The three-year investigation by the US Department of Justice into price-fixing allegations by auto parts suppliers continues, with two more fish from the swamp of corruption the latest to be sentenced. Reuters reports that Denso executives Yuji Suzuki and Hiroshi Watanabe will do 16 months and 15 months in US jails, respectively, for their roles in setting prices for parts like heater control units and power window systems. They will also each pay $20,000 fines.

Fourteen executives and nine companies – so far – have been speared by the investigation. Eight of the companies have settled, Denso paying a $78-million fine in February last year at the same time as the DoJ collected $478 million from supplier Yazaki, $200 million from Furukawa Electric Company and sent three Furukawa execs to prison.


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  • 26 Comments
      Marco Valenti
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well autoblog, lets not put too many details in the article.
      Candy
      • 1 Month Ago

       I went to an independent auto parts store to get an idea how much I would be paying for a new oxygen sensor for my 2002  Honda Civic 5seed hatchback.  They had 3 items to show, 2 were made by Denso and priced at $266.88 and $318.63.   The store could not order the part for my vehicle, so I went to the dealer, who charged me $332.33 for the sensor, not including labor.  Another dealer quoted the same price.  Not happy about this, I did some online research and found out that the sale of the part I needed is "restricted" to be sold only to dealerships!   I instructed the dealer to give me the old sensor, and sure enough, it's a "Denso" and not a Honda part.     This may not be "price-fixing"  but it achieves the same goal.

      It's time for me to look for a reputable independent mechanic.

      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Peter Middleton
      • 1 Year Ago
      Those penalties are pathetic for damaging the American auto industry
        cowsqueezer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Peter Middleton
        Agreed, a total joke.
        Pookie64
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Peter Middleton
        Agree that 20K is peanuts for the execs. convicted. But Denso (the company) paid $78 Million fine.
          Mondrell
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Pookie64
          \"But Denso (the company) paid $78 Million fine.\" Which as is often the case with large corporate expenditures, will be recouped through the two groups with the least influence on the firm\'s ethics: employees and consumers.
      graphikzking
      • 1 Year Ago
      And who gets the money? Not us "conned"sumers that paid the inflated prices. I bet the government and any lawyers make out like bandits though.
      Alex3000GT
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let's remember that Denso is not just a spark plug manufacturer. For example, they make powertrain cooling components, like the ones seen in the Dodge Ram HD article posted earlier today. Denso also does HVAC systtems, gauge clusters, ECUs and other electronics. They really are a global juggernaut in the field of automotive suppliers. Let's also remember that there are a lot of business practices, while perfectly legal in Japan, sum up to anti-trust here in the states. Is it any wonder why every Toyota on the road uses Denso radiators? Preferred suppliers, or shady back room deals? You be the judge.
        AP1_S2K
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alex3000GT
        good comment. thanks
        bK
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alex3000GT
        Well said, these kind of practices are more common that the public knows about....
          Candy
          • 1 Month Ago
          @bK

          THAT.........is the problem.

        AMMinter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alex3000GT
        Toyota uses Denso parts because Toyota owns about 25% of Denso and it was founded by one of the sons of the founder of Toyota (same goes for Aisin, which you will see a lot of parts from in Toyotas). All the Japanese OEMs have companies like that tied to them. It's called Keiretsu. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keiretsu
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alex3000GT
        [blocked]
        jase.s
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Alex3000GT
        Regarding the Toyota radiator comment, Denso at least makes a quality product. In the Nineties, all Toyota cars had mostly Denso parts and accessories, and this was the era when Toyota built its reputation for reliability. Even today, Denso parts are still synonymous with quality. It would be a different story if they were supplying low quality products while price gouging, but they are actually keeping quality pretty high.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Skicat
      • 1 Year Ago
      But, as we all know, the free market is a perfect, self-regulating model, and the gubmint can't do anything right. (sarcasm for those who don't get it)
        gayle
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Skicat
        The free-market has always required trust, collusion, and monopoly regulations, and advocates of the free-market generally support any regulation that prohibits anti-competitive forces or coercion. If those forces were present, the market wouldn't be free to set prices. The notion that freedom requires some kind of order is an attribute of Enlightenment philosophy, and it is one of the characteristics that sets negative human rights and limited-government apart from anarchy. "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."--Adam Smith In Smith's day, society didn't have informational efficiency so he lamented that regulation was basically impossible. Over the centuries, new technology has increased the volume and rate of informational flows, and regulators can more easily monitor the pricing arrangements. So market-based economics has actually created the technology that regulators need to enforce the law. Furthermore, you should be a bit skeptical of this situation. The Big 3 go down in flames. Uncle Sam gives them billions, and then starts jailing their suppliers for price-fixing. I'm not saying the suppliers aren't guilty, but this situation has the potential to be incredibly corrupt, especially since the manufacturers have been known to use coercive tactics against the suppliers.
      Paulevalence
      • 1 Year Ago
      at least they are making them do jail time. Giving fines to the rich does nothing to them; but taking away years of their life will make them think harder next time.. (about how not to get caught lol..)
      breakfastburrito
      • 1 Year Ago
      That particular species of flower is known as the 'Japanese Patsy'. They are grown all around the money tree, to protect it from harm. Easy to destroy, The Patsies emit a foul odor when they are cut down.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well at least their products aren't half-ass...
      Renaurd
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lock 'em up Dano.
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