It is not too often that we see a big global carmaker demanding publicly hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for overpriced parts. The French carmaker PSA Group is claiming money from three Japanese suppliers and two European auto parts distributors at Britain’s Competition Appeal Tribunal.
The PSA Group companies are asking for $579 million in damages from their suppliers, according to a spokesman for the Japanese car parts maker and defendant NSK Corp. The other defendants are the NTN Corp and JTEKT Corp, AB SKF from Sweden and INA-Holding Schaeffler GmbH from Germany. The affiliates of NSK and Schaeffler are also included in the claim filed, standing for the biggest car bearings makers in the world.
In the U.S. there are a big number of auto parts makers who have admitted to fixing prices from windshield wipers to seat belt, airbags and steering wheels, and who have paid billions of dollars in fines up to present to regulators. The country, however, has just started dealing with civil suits by dealers and consumers against these suppliers.
Usually, automakers choose to stay quiet on this topic and handle these type of situations behind closed doors with either compensations, or discounts in the future for parts purchases. The public action from PSA is regarded to be the start of fighting in the public eye over the price-fixing issue.
A summary from PSA’s claim that was filed on the 26th of February says that “They seek compensation reflecting their loss of profits and/ or their increased costs of borrowing.” The NSK declined to comment on its following steps, stating that it had not received other claims from its other customers.