The dirty secrets of the multibillion-dollar wiring harness industry are being uncovered bit by bit, as more suppliers are found to be connected to a global price-fixing scandal. Automotive News reports that Ford is now suing a Japanese supplier that admitted to fixing prices of wiring harness components in a previous criminal investigation.
The civil lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Detroit against Fujikura Ltd. and its Detroit subsidiary, Fujikura Automotive America, on Tuesday. The lawsuit claims that the aforementioned companies coordinated with other suppliers to fix the prices of wiring harnesses sold to Ford from January 2000 through at least February 2010. Fujikura agreed to pay a $20 million fine in the criminal investigation, and Ford is suing for triple the damages – as allowed by US law – on the $10 billion it spent on harnesses during the 10-year period, though it's not known how much money Ford lost on them.
The wiring harness industry, in 2010, was a $26.9 billion business, and the size of the investigation into price fixing reflects this. In February, Scott Hammond, US deputy assistant attorney general, said the investigation into price fixing "has grown over time and is broader than what we've announced so far," reports Automotive News.