Japan auto parts exec to plead guilty in price fix

By the Associated Press | August 16, 2012 | 2:35 PM EDT

DETROIT (AP) — The Justice Department says an executive with Tokyo-based automotive parts supplier Yazaki Corp. has agreed to plead guilty in a conspiracy to fix prices of instrument panel clusters installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere.

Under the agreement announced Thursday, Toshio Sudo agrees to serve 14 months in a U.S. prison, pay a $20,000 fine and cooperate with the investigation.

A felony charge filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit says Sudo was involved in the conspiracy from as early as 2003 until at least 2009. The government alleges he and others agreed to allocate the supply of the components and sell them at noncompetitive prices.

Sudo is the 11th person charged in the government's investigation of price fixing and bid-rigging in the auto parts industry.