Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , GM , Toyota In the past, if an automaker did something wrong, they were usually prosecuted by the US government through something called the TREAD Act. Short for Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, it basically requires automakers to report recalls in other countries, along with any and all serious injuries or deaths, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . Failing to report or attempting to conceal anything when there’s been a death or serious injury constitutes a criminal liability. The idea is that this setup puts the onus on manufacturers to keep NHTSA apprised of safety related issues before they become a problem in the US, thereby allowing the regulator to better protect consumers. In theory, it sounds like a relatively airtight set of rules for dealing with misbehaving automakers. That didn’t stop the US Department of Justice from ignoring TREAD in its prosecution of Toyota’s handling of the unintended acceleration recall, though. The result of this new approach, which charged Toyota with wire fraud, was a $1.2 billion settlement . Now, the wire-fraud approach could be used for the expected case between the US government and General Motors , based on the statements of Attorney General Eric Holder , who specifically mentioned “similarly situated companies” when discussing Toyota. In order to make wire fraud stick, US prosecutors would need to prove criminal intent. As explained by Reuters , that means there needs to be evidence that GM actively misled either regulators like NHTSA, or the general public, all in a bid to maintain sales.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Toyota Nine Japanese suppliers have pleaded guilty in US court over charges of price fixing in the automotive parts industry, resulting in the Department of Justice doling out a total of $740 million of fines, according to a report from Bloomberg . The scandal, which has resulted in General Motors , Ford , Toyota and Chrysler spending up to $5 billion on inflated parts and driving up prices on 25 million vehicles has sent the DoJ hustling into investigations. “The conduct this investigation uncovered involved more than a dozen separate conspiracies aimed at the U.S. economy,” Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured above) said during yesterday’s press conference. As the investigation stands, the DoJ has issued $1.6 billion in fines against 20 companies and 21 individual executives, with 17 of the execs headed to prison. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond said, “The breadth of the conspiracies brought to light today are as egregious as they are pervasive. They involve more than a dozen separate conspiracies operating independently but all sharing in common that they targeted US automotive manufacturers.” Big-name suppliers indicted in the investigation include Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hitachi Automotive and Mitsuba Corporation. A list of fines and other corporations named in the investigation is available at Bloomberg . DoJ fines Japanese parts firms $740M in massive automotive price-fixing scandal originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .