Toyo Tire fined $1.7 million in bid-rigging conspiracy
Toyo Tire and Rubber Co. was fined $1.7 million this month for its part in an international bid-rigging conspiracy. The company pleaded guilty to three counts of bid-rigging under the Canadian Competition Act.
A Competition Bureau investigation revealed the bid-rigging conspiracy related to the supply of anti-vibration components to Toyota Motor Corporation between June 2004 and August 2006. It found Toyo Tire engaged in secret agreements with other suppliers of anti-vibration components in response to requests for quotes issued by Toyota for certain Corolla, RAV 4 and Lexus 350 RX models.
Toyo Tire declined to comment to Traction News on the verdict.
What is bid-rigging?
“Bid-rigging” means two or more parties have formed a secret agreement to manipulate a tender process to guarantee an outcome—thereby making the competitive tendering process pointless. It can include fake bidding, withholding bids or any collusion between parties that allows them to rotate bids or carve up the market. It can occur in any market; it is illegal, and there are hefty fines facing guilty parties.
To date, the Bureau’s investigation involving motor vehicle components has resulted in eight guilty pleas and over $58 million in fines imposed by the courts since April 2013.
The Bureau first learned of cartel activity in the motor vehicle components industry through its Immunity Program—under which the first party to disclose a crime will not be prosecuted—and began its investigation in December 2009.
Associate deputy commissioner of competition St́ephane Hould said the investigation into bid-rigging in the automotive industry was ongoing.
“We are committed to vigorously enforcing the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition Act against those who engage in anti-competitive conduct, including both businesses and individuals,” he said.
Purchasing Management Association of Canada president Robert W. Dye said consumers should report suspicious behavior.
“The costs of bid-rigging can be enormous,” he said.
“Buyers and supply chain organizations play a vital role as front-line detectors of this illegal conduct.”
What do I do if I suspect bid-rigging?
Bid-rigging is illegal in the U.S., too, and the Department of Justice has a tip sheet to help people identify, understand and respond to instances of it.
U.S. citizens who believe they have identified bid-rigging should contact the Citizen Complaint Center of the Department’s Antitrust Division.
Email the Complaint Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-888-647-3258 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada) or 1-202-307-2040.
You can also write to:
Citizen Complaint Center
Antitrust Division, U.S. Dept. of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 3322
Washington, DC 20530