On Dec. 23, 2013, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced that it imposed fines on foreign auto parts manufacturers and their Korean subsidiaries, in aggregate amounts of 114.6 billion Korean won ($109.1 million), for fixing prices on windshield wipers and instrument panel clusters. The companies fined were Denso Korea Electronics, Denso Korea Automotive, Continental Automotive Electronics and Bosch Electrical Devices. The KFTC noted that Denso Corp., the parent company of the two Denso entities in Korea, also was involved, but it was not fined because it does not have any revenue in Korea.
According to the KFTC, Denso Corp., Denso Korea Electronics and Continental Automotive Electronics colluded to restrict competition and secure certain profit levels when they made bids to supply instrument panel clusters to Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors, during the period from January 2008 to March 2012. The KFTC said that Denso Corp., Denso Korea Automotive and Bosch Electrical Devices colluded in making bids to supply such products to Hyundai and Kia during the period from August 2008 to February 2009.
The KFTC noted that these cases are the first instances in Korea where fines were imposed based on future revenues from projects to develop and sell new, tailored products (as opposed to fines based on completed sales).
The KFTC collaborated with antitrust regulators from the United States and the European Union by conducting joint investigations and exchanging information. In particular, the KFTC and U.S. Department of Justice conducted joint, on-site investigations in Korea and the United States in October 2012. The KFTC emphasized that it intends to further cooperate with the major antitrust regulatory authorities in other jurisdictions to protect the interests of domestic companies and consumers.
The KFTC’s announcement is available here.