A former executive with Hitachi Automotive Systems pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiring to fix prices on a number of automotive parts sold in the United States.
Takashi Toyokuni, a former manager and director with responsibility over alternators and starters with Hitachi, entered the plea and was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
He also agreed, as part of a plea agreement, to pay a $20,000 fine, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Toyokuni was indicted Sept. 18 by a federal grand jury in Detroit on one count of conspiracy to rig the bids and fix prices for a number of automotive components between 2000 and 2010. The department said the automakers that were victims of the conspiracy included Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Nissan Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., and certain subsidiaries.
On Nov. 6, 2013, Hitachi Automotive Systems pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices and was ordered to pay a fine of $195 million.
The auto parts price-fixing probe, which has been ongoing since 2010, is the largest and most extensive price-fixing investigation in the nation’s history.
Including Toyokuni, 52 individuals have been charged in the government’s ongoing probe into market allocation, price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. Additionally, 34 companies pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.4 billion in fines.