Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. (“Hitachi”) and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (“Mitsubishi”) have agreed to pay a combined sum of more than $23 million to settle claims filed in Michigan federal court alleging that they participated in an extensive, global price-fixing conspiracy involving ignition coils, alternators, and starters.
According to requests for approval for the series of settlements filed on August 10, 2018, Hitachi will pay $6.23 million and Mitsubishi will pay $17.04 million to a class of direct purchasers of the specified automotive parts to settle accusations they worked with other manufacturers to increase the prices of the parts through bid rigging, price fixing, and supply manipulation.
The class asserted that “[t]he settlement amounts constitute meaningful recoveries and reflect consideration of information gleaned from settlement class counsel’s factual investigation and legal analysis.” The agreement follows a $9.5 million combined settlement Hitachi and Mitsubishi agreed to pay to purchasers of fuel injection systems just over a month ago. This action is part of a widespread, multi-district litigation arising from the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into the auto parts industry, in which the government has alleged that makers, marketers, and sellers of automotive parts colluded to artificially raise prices.
The federal judge presiding over the case, the Honorable Marianne O. Battani of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted preliminary approval of a similar, $3.5 million settlement in June 2018, instructing Japanese manufacturer, Calsonic Kansei Corp. (“Calsonic”), to pay auto dealerships for new cars they had purchased containing Calsonic’s ATF warmers, air conditioning systems, and radiators.
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Stanley, Chuck. “Mitsubishi, Hitachi To Pay $23M In Parts Price-Fixing MDL.” Law 360. Last modified on August 13, 2018.