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Four Japanese auto part makers fined 9.2 bln won

Aug 05,2019
The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on Sunday said it will fine four Japanese makers of automobile parts 9.2 billion won ($8.3 million) for fixing prices.

Korea’s antitrust watchdog said the Japanese auto part makers colluded by fixing prices when selling alternators and ignition coils to domestic automobile companies.

The subjects of regulation are Mitsubishi Electric, Hitachi Automotive Systems, both of which have been referred to prosecutors, Denso Corporation and Diamond Electric Mfg. Mitsubishi was fined the largest amount, 8.09 billion won, while Hitachi was fined 415 million won. Denso and Diamond were fined 429 million won and 268 million won, respectively.

The auto part makers were also found to have colluded in fixing prices in the United States, European Union, Canada and Japan.

Alternators are used to charge engine batteries and power the electrical system when the engine is running while ignition coils generate the high voltage that is necessary to ignite fuel.

According to the FTC, Mitsubishi and Denso allocated their alternator clients before selling parts from 2004 through late 2014. The alternator from Denso was used in four domestic car models, including Kia’s K7 (VG) and its usage only stopped when the models were discontinued in 2017.

In bidding for the alternator used in the Renault Samsung QM5 in 2004, Hitachi submitted a higher price than Mitsubishi in an effort to respect the commercial supremacy of Mitsubishi, whose alternator was used under the agreement until the model was discontinued in 2016.

Mitsubishi, Diamond and Denso colluded in a similar way before selling ignition coils to GM Korea’s Malibu. While Diamond gave up on presenting a bid, Mitsubishi submitted a higher price than Denso’s bid. Denso’s ignition coil was used until the model was discontinued in 2016.

As of 2016, Denso accounts for 28.9 percent of the alternator market, followed by Paris-based Valeo at 22.5 percent and Mitsubishi at 14.3 percent. Denso also accounts for the largest share, 23.8 percent, in the ignition coil market as of 2016, followed by Diamond at 22.4 percent and Mitsubishi at fifth with 7.8 percent.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]