OTTAWA—Japanese bearing manufacturer NSK Ltd. has been fined $4.5-million for its role in an international bid-rigging scheme against Toyota Manufacturing Canada Inc.
According to the federal Competition Bureau, NSK was hit with the fine after pleading guilty to two counts of bid-rigging under the Competition Act.
“Bid-rigging has a negative impact on all Canadians and cracking down on cartel offences continues to be a top priority for the Bureau,” John Pecman, commissioner of competition, said in a statement. “Bid-rigging deprives those seeking goods or services of the benefits of a competitive bidding process and the resulting competitive prices.”
The charges stem from an investigation into NSK secretly conspiring with fellow Japanese firm JTEKT Corp. to submit bids for the supply of bearings to Toyota for automotive wheel hub assemblies.
JTEKT guilty to two counts of bid-rigging last July and was fined $5-million.
According to the Competition Bureau of Canada, the company’s pleas relate to bearings supplied to Toyota’s Canadian operations between 2007 and 2013.
The bureau said NSK admitted to participating in a the scheme to rig bids in response to quote requests for wheel hub bearings for use in Toyota’s RAV4 models built in Canada from 2008 to 2012, as well as its Corolla and Matrix models produced here from 2007 to 2013.
The bureau was made aware of the bearings cartel through its immunity program, and launched its investigation in July 2011.
While it didn’t elaborate, the Competition Bureau said its investigation of the bearings cartel is part of a large international investigation related to “the supply of various motor vehicle components.”
There is no allegation of wrongdoing against Toyota.