U.S. car buyers paid more because of price fixing

May 27, 2014

Car dealership.
Car dealership.
Credit GM

WASHINGTON – A price-fixing investigation into the auto parts industry has mushroomed into the Justice Department's largest criminal antitrust probe ever, and it's not over.

The investigation was made public four years ago with FBI raids in the Detroit area.

It's led to criminal charges against dozens of people and companies, stretched across continents and reverberated through an industry responsible for supplying critical car components.

Thirty-four individuals have been charged and 27 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so. Collectively, they've agreed to pay about $2.3 billion in fines.

A Justice Department official says it's safe to say that U.S. car buyers paid more as a result of the conspiracy.

Officials say the investigation stands out for its scope and for the cooperation received from Japan, Australia and other countries.

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