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Canadian auto dealers launch class action

  Class Action  -   POSTED: 2012/03/27 16:17

Three class action lawsuits have been launched in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking over $700 million in damages on behalf of Canadian auto dealers over alleged price fixing on parts used in the manufacture of automobiles.

The lawsuits name several major parts manufacturers recently implicated in an international price-fixing probe including Yazaki Corporation, Denso Corporation, Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd., Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd., Delphi Automotive LLP, and Fujikura Ltd. among others.

The parts which were the subject of the alleged price fixing are essential components found in all modern motor vehicles, including wire harnesses, fuel senders, instrument panel clusters, electronic control units and heater control panels.

The auto dealers assert in the lawsuits that the defendants entered into illegal backroom agreements to artificially inflate the prices of the auto parts throughout the 00's. This led to higher overall prices for motor vehicles charged to the dealers.

The lawsuits follow a series of international price-fixing investigations involving the same parties. The defendants, Yazaki, Denso and Furukawa, have agreed to plead guilty and pay a total of US$748 million in criminal fines in the United States for their role in price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracies in the sale of the auto parts to automobile manufacturers.

"The scope of these lawsuits is enormous," says David Sterns , one of the lawyers for the lead plaintiffs. "Because of the alleged conduct, Canadian auto dealers selling certain makes of cars and trucks may have been overcharged for every vehicle they purchased over a ten year period."

The proposed representative plaintiffs for the class actions are Sheridan Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd. and Pickering Auto Mall Ltd., both owned and operated for years by Jerry Gazarek, a now-retired auto dealer from Pickering, Ontario. Gazarek sold cars and trucks manufactured by GM, Suzuki, Isuzu and Saab throughout the period of the alleged conspiracy.

The representative plaintiffs brought the actions under Ontario's Class Proceedings Act, 1992.  The claims seek court certification to represent all similarly affected auto dealers in Canada .

Copies of the court filed statements of claim are available at: www.sotosllp.com/class-actions/auto-parts

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