South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) slapped a combined fine of 37.1 billion won ($33 million) on Japanese auto parts suppliers for rigging bid prices for their products supplied to Korean finished carmakers, the country’s antitrust regulator said Monday.
According to the FTC, Japan’s auto components manufacturer Denso Corp., its Korean subsidiary Denso Korea Automotive Corp. and Hyundam Industrial Co., in which Obu, Japan-based Aisan Industry invested capitals in 1997, are accused of complementary bidding for engine fuel pumps supplied to Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. They allegedly designated a winner in advance and the others submitted higher bids to ensure the pre-decided bidder to win.
According to the investigation by the Korean antitrust watchdog, the companies rigged the bids to prop up profitability amid growing pressure from finished car makers to lower parts prices.
Separately, Denso, Denso Korea and Delphi Powertrain Systems Korea Co. owned by the U.S. Delphi Automotive allegedly colluded not to compete in each other’s market for variable valve timing (VVT) systems from June 1 in 2009 to May 6 in 2012, the FTC said. VVT is a system that enhances engine efficiency by adjusting the opening and closing timing of intake and exhaust valves.
By Seok Min-su and Choi Mira
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