Another auto parts supplier named in a sweeping antitrust class action, Autoliv Inc., has agreed to pay $65 million to resolve claims of price-fixing and bid-rigging.
The settlement with the Swedish company, reached on Friday, came less than five months after Japanese auto parts supplier Nippon Seiki Co. Ltd. agreed to pay $6 million to resolve similar claims. Two other companies, Lear Corp. and Kyungshin-Lear Sales & Engineering LLC, settled last month.
The litigation, coordinated in federal court in Detroit, is part of a civil action against companies that sold parts for new cars. As part of the largest antitrust investigation in its history, the U.S. Justice Department has charged 27 companies that have agreed to pay more than $2.3 billion in fines; and 34 executives, most of whom have pleaded guilty.
“We’re hopeful that other defendants will come forward to cooperate with plaintiffs,” said Hollis Salzman, co-chairwoman of the antitrust and trade regulation practice at Minneapolis-based Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi and co-lead counsel for a class of “end payors”—consumers and businesses that purchased new cars containing the parts. The settlement also resolves claims by two additional classes of plaintiffs: Direct purchasers, or manufacturers that purchased the parts; and auto dealers.
The same three classes settled claims against Kyungshin-Lear and Lear for more than $9 million, Salzman said.
Joseph Kohn, shareholder and director of Philadelphia’s Kohn Swift & Graf, who represents the direct purchasers, did not respond to a request for comment. Jonathan Cuneo, founding member of Washington’s Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, who represents the dealers, did not return a call for comment.
In a press release Monday, Autoliv said it had agreed to pay $40 million to the direct purchasers, $6 million to the dealers and $19 million to the end payors, but did not admit liability as part of the settlement, which is subject to court approval.
Michael Brown, co-leader of the government and internal investigations group at Atlanta’s Alston & Bird, who represents Autoliv, did not respond to a request for comment.
In the Justice Department’s criminal case, Autoliv agreed in 2012 to pay a $14.5 million fine for fixing prices on seatbelts, air bags and steering wheels. One of its executives also pleaded guilty in 2013 to fixing prices of seatbelts sold to Toyota Motor Corp.
Contact Amanda Bronstad at email@example.com.