WASHINGTON, DC: German auto parts supplier Robert Bosch has been fined US58.7 million by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) after pleading guilty to price fixing and bid rigging spark plugs, oxygen sensors and starter motors sold in the U.S.
According to the indictment, for over a decade from January 2000, Bosch conspired to fix the price of auto parts sold to DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors and to VW between 2009 and 2010.
"The participants in this conspiracy were not located in just one country or region of the world," said DoJ deputy assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder. "Collusion related to automotive parts was global in nature," he added.
The DoJ said Bosch executives met with other conspirators and agreed bids and price quotations for presentation to car and engine manufacturers and to control the subsequent supply of parts.
Including Bosch, 34 companies and 29 executives have agreed to pay nearly US$2.5 billion in an ongoing investigation into auto industry price fixing and bid rigging.
In 2014, the Bosch Group reported sales of €48.9 billion – an increase of 6.2 percent over the previous year. Earnings before interest and taxes came to nearly €3 billion it said.
"Despite difficult economic conditions, we managed to meet our business targets for 2014," commented Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch. "Our innovation strategy is paying off. Our business success over the past year is proof of this. In 2014 we further improved our market position and competitiveness in many areas," he added. The company reported an 8.6 percent rise in North America sales last year.
Set up in 1886, some 92 percent of Bosch shares are held by Robert Bosch Stiftung, a Germany charitable foundation.