The Federal Court has found that a Japanese company, Yazaki Corporation (Yazaki), engaged in collusive conduct with its competitor in the supply of wire harnesses to Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) in Australia, in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The Court found that in 2003 and 2008, Yazaki made and gave effect to arrangements with a competitor, which included the coordination of quotes to Toyota for the supply of wire harnesses used in the manufacture of the Toyota Camry. The Court held that this was in breach of the exclusionary arrangement provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act) and the Competition Code of Victoria (the Code).
The Court found that Yazaki’s conduct was subject to the Act and the Code because Yazaki was carrying on business in Australia, notwithstanding that much of the conduct occurred in Japan. However, the Court held that because the price fixing conduct by Yazaki did not occur in a market in Australia as required by the Act at the time of the conduct, it did not contravene the price fixing provisions.
The Court also found that Yazaki’s Australia subsidiary, Australian Arrow Pty Ltd (AAPL), engaged in market sharing and price fixing conduct in 2003 in relation to wire harnesses used in the manufacture of the 2002 model Toyota Camry. However, the Court did not accept the ACCC’s argument that AAPL gave effect to the 2003 and 2008 agreements made by Yazaki.
“The collusion by Yazaki in Japan affected the price of wire harnesses built into Australian made Toyota Camrys,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“Even where collusive arrangements are made outside Australia, the ACCC will seek to enforce Australian cartel laws to protect Australian consumers and industry,” Mr Sims said.
Wire harnesses are electrical systems that facilitate the distribution of power and the sending of electrical signals to various components of a motor vehicle. Yazaki’s conduct affected the supply of wire harnesses used in the manufacture of the 2006 and 2011 models of Toyota Camry in Australia. Fifteen wire harnesses are used in the 2011 Camry.
The ACCC’s action follows similar enforcement action against Yazaki and other cartel participants by competition regulators in the US, Canada, and Japan. It arose from an immunity application which reported the conduct.
A hearing on relief will now take place on a date to be fixed by the Court.