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Parts Makers to Pay $4M to Settle Bid Rigging Case

(CN) - Two South Korean auto parts makers agreed to pay $4 million to settle claims they rigged bids for dashboard instruments sold to manufacturers in the U.S., the Justice Department announced.

Prosecutors said Continental Automotive Electronics LLC and Continental Automotive Korea Ltd., rigged bids for parts sold to Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Crop. and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, over an eight-year period.

The parts in question come in sets described as instrument panel clusters" that include a speedometer, tachometer, odometer, a fuel gauge and warning lights.

During the period that came under government scrutiny the defendants sales of these instrument panel clusters exceeded $13 million.

"During the relevant period, Defendants', through their officers and employees, including high-level personnel, participated in a conspiracy with other persons and another company engaged in the development, production, supply, and sale of instrument panel clusters, the primary purpose of which was to suppress and restrain competition by allocating bids, rigging bids, and submitting non-competitive bids and prices for the sale of instrument panel clusters that were installed in vehicle produced by vehicle manufacturers and sold in the United States and elsewhere," the plea agreement says.

The agreement brings to 32 the number of auto parts makers who have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so for price fixing or other violations of antitrust laws. Both the defendants in this case have agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department's ongoing investigation.

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