South Africa’s Competition Commission has added 17 more cartel charges against Global airbag and seatbelt manufacturer, Takata Corporation, and its local arm, Takata South Africa. This adds more trouble to global business, Takata, which went bankrupt after it was exposed for supplying defective airbags to more than 60 companies across the globe including Nissan, General Motors and BMW.
Takata was was initially slapped by the South African Competition Commission with four cartel charges in March this year for collusion that manipulated tender prices and divided markets in a number of products supplied to popular car manufacturers like BMW, Toyota and VW.
The other businesses implicated in this case are Autoliv Inc, Autoliv SA, TRW Automotive and TRW Occupant Restraints South Africa. The Commission said it is not seeking penalties against other global players and their local affiliates implicated with Takata. TRW was granted immunity from prosecution. Autoliv has settled with the Commission.
Competition Commissioner, Tembinkosi Bonakele, said “The uncovering and prosecution of this international cartel confirms the Commission’s position as one of the elite global anti cartel enforcers. The cartel on car parts is one of the most extensive global cartel affecting most vehicle model and therefore a significant number of consumers globally, including SA. The affected vehicles are among the most popular in our market. Its effect would have been a price increase in the prices of affected motor vehicle.”
The addition of 17 more charges means that Takata is now facing a total of 21 charges. The latest charges involve collusion in relation to BMW, Toyota and VW tenders issued between 2006 and 2011 for the manufacture and supply of:
- Airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels that contain driver airbags for the VW Golf, Audi A3, VW Passat, VW Tiguan and VW Touran models;
- Steering wheels that contain driver airbags for Audi A3, Audi TT, VW Touran, VW Jetta, VW Eos, VW Tiguan, and VW Scirocco vehicles;
- Steering wheels that contain driver airbags for the BMW 1 and 3 series vehicles;
- Seatbelts for VW120Up vehicles;
- Seatbelts for Passat motor vehicles;
- Passenger airbags and steering wheels containing driver airbags for BMW 5, 6 and 7 series vehicles;
- Steering wheels containing driver airbags for BMW 3 series vehicles;
- Airbags, seatbelts and steering wheels that contain driver airbags for BMW X5 and X6 vehicles
- Steering wheels containing driver airbags for Golf Cabriolets;
- Seatbelts for Polo and Audi A1 models;
- Passenger airbags for VW Polo and Audi A1 vehicles;
- Steering wheels and driver airbags for A1, A6, A7 and A8;
- Steering wheels and driver airbags for VW polo.
- Curtain/thorax airbags and steering wheels containing driver airbags for Porsche Cajun vehicles;
- Seatbelts for Porsche Cajun vehicles;
- Steering wheels for Toyota Yaris; and
- Seatbelts and airbags for Toyota Auris.
Takata has had torrid experience in recent times. It was exposed for supplying defective airbags to global automotive giants whoich caused a worldwide recall of over 100 million air bags. It filed for bankruptcy in Japan in June 2017. Most of its business were taken over by Key Safety Systems (“KSS”), a global leader in mobility safety headquartered in Michigan, USA.
In the US it pledged to pay $850 million in compensation to automakers for defective air bags it supplied which are said to have caused at least 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide.