WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Japanese auto parts maker Sanden Corp has agreed to plead guilty to fixing the prices of compressors used in automobile air conditioners and to pay a fine of $3.2 million, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.
The guilty plea is the latest in a series of probes by antitrust enforcers in several countries into price fixing of more than 30 types of car parts, including seat belts, radiators, windshield wipers, air-conditioning systems, power window motors and power steering components.
Sanden’s plea will bring to 33 the number of companies which have been charged in the United States.
Sanden conspired with other companies whose names were not disclosed to fix bids for compressors sold to Nissan North America Inc from around August 2008 to April 2009, the Justice Department said.
In addition to the 33 companies, 50 executives of those companies have either pleaded guilty or been indicted in the investigation, the department added.
Other auto parts companies that have settled include Takata Corp, Autoliv Inc, Tokai Rika Co Ltd, TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, Nippon Seiki Co Ltd , Furukawa Electric Co Ltd and Fujikura Ltd . (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Alan Crosby)