Auto Parts Maker Admits to Price Fixing

Nippon Seiki pays $1 million fine.

Japanese automobile parts maker Nippon Seiki has agreed to pay a $1 million criminal fine in the United States after admitting to price fixing, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The Nagoka, Japan-based company is the latest to be caught in a long-running U.S. probe into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.

A one-count felony charge was filed in federal court in Detroit, the hub of the industry, the Justice Department said.

Nippon Seiki agreed to plead guilty of conspiring to rig bids for and fix the prices of instrument panel clusters -- instruments and gauges located in front of the driver of an automobile -- in cars sold in the U.S. and elsewhere, the department said.

The conspiracy began as early as April 2008 and lasted until at least February 2010.

Nippon Seiki agreed to cooperate with the department's investigation as part of the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval.

Including Nippon Seiki, a total of eight companies and 11 executives have been charged in the investigation, the Justice Department said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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