Toyoda Gosei engaged in these anti-competitive practices. Photo: Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - A settlement agreement in terms of which Toyoda Gosei, the Japanese manufacturer and supplier of car safety system products, including airbags, agreed to pay a fine of R6.16 million for price fixing, dividing markets and collusive tendering, has been confirmed by the Competition Tribunal.

The tribunal heard yesterday that a Competition Commission investigation had found that Toyoda Gosei, global airbag and seat belt manufacturer Takata Corporation of Japan and multinational component supplier Autoliv had from 2007 to date engaged in these anti-competitive practices in regard to two requests for quotations issued by Toyota Motor Corporation.

The request for quotations related to the supply of side airbags, curtain airbags and steering wheel/driver airbags for the Toyota Yaris and passenger airbags and knee airbags for the Toyota Auris.

TRW Automotive was the leniency applicant in the case. Autoliv last year admitted 15 instances in which it was involved in prohibited practices, including price fixing, market division, collusive tendering and/or exchanging commercially sensitive information with its competitors, including TRW Automotive, Takata, Toyoda and Tokai Rika, and agreed to pay a fine of R149.96m.

Conduct probed

The commission amended its original complaint in this case to include Toyoda Gosei and Tokai Rika.

The conduct investigated by the commission was based on the original and amended complaints, which involved a number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Corporation, Peugeot and Daimler. Anthony Ndzabandzaba, appearing for the commission, said yesterday that Takata and Tokai Rika still had to appear before the tribunal in this case.

Ndzabandzaba said Takata was the incumbent supplier of these components for the Toyota Yaris.

He said Toyoda Gosei, Autoliv and Takata got together and agreed how they would respond to Toyota’s request for quotations.

Ndzabandzaba said the others would protect the incumbent supplier to make sure it did not lose that business.

“They would agree on the pricing that the others would give to Toyota to make sure that the incumbent supplier would be the successful bidder,” he said.

“In the main, suppliers of particular components to a particular OEM would get together and agree on which firm would supply which components."