State Watch

California recovers $23M from auto parts makers' in bid rigging settlement

California's attorney general announced Wednesday that the state has secured $23 million in settlements against dozens of auto part manufacturers over illegal bid fixing that led to an inflation in part costs.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra's (D) office said in a press release that dozens of companies conspired to fix prices on certain auto parts, eliminating competition in the market and affecting both foreign and domestic vehicles.

"A vehicle is one of the most expensive and important purchases working families can make," Becerra said in a statement. "Competition is vital to sustain our marketplace and keep products affordable for consumers. Today's announcement is the culmination of years of work by our office to hold these auto parts companies accountable and to maintain a fair and competitive economy for Californians."

The largest settlement was with the Japan-based DENSO Corp., Becerra's office said, which settled the lawsuit for $4.25 million.

"This conduct, going back decades, involved conspiracies by dozens of auto parts manufacturers to suppress and eliminate competition by agreeing to rig bids for and to fix, stabilize, and maintain prices of automotive parts sold to automobile manufacturers, affecting many foreign and domestic vehicles," read the AG office's press release.

A separate investigation on the issue conducted by the federal Department of Justice has been ongoing for years, and last year resulted in Japanese manufacturer Maruyasu Industries Co. pleading guilty to criminal price fixing and agreeing to pay a $12 million fine.