DETROIT (Legal Newsline) - Two companies have agreed to settle their portion of a multidistrict class action lawsuit in which auto part makers have been accused of price-fixing.

On June 4, Yazaki Corp. and TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH agreed to settle their portion of the suit, joining several other auto part makers who have previously reached settlements with the class members.

Yazaki and TRW were accused of conspiring with other auto part manufactures to fix the price of occupant safety systems, including seat belts, steering wheels and air bags, according to the suit.

Yazaki and TRW have already paid millions of dollars in fees to the U.S. Department of Justice. Yazaki paid $470 million and TRW paid $6 million.

The amount the companies will pay in the settlement has yet to be disclosed, according to court documents.

On June 3, Autoliv Inc. agreed to pay $65 million to settle with direct purchasers, auto dealers and consumers in the class action lawsuit.

The U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into price-fixing allegations, which was announced in 2010, has turned into the largest criminal antitrust investigation ever conducted by the agency. The investigation has led to criminal charges against dozens of companies.

The MDL class action was first filed in 2012.

The first settlement in the class action was reached by Nippon Seiki in January. The company agreed to pay $4.6 million in the settlement.

Nippon Seiki had been investigated for its role in allegedly conspiring to fix the prices of vehicle instrument panels.

In May, Lear Corp. agreed to pay $8.75 million to settle allegations that it had conspired with other auto parts makers to fix the prices of automotive wire harness systems.

The MDL class action is the first in a string of price-fixing accusations brought against auto parts manufacturers.

In February, separate lawsuits were filed against Panasonic Corp., Hitachi Automotive Systems Inc. and Mitsuba Corp., alleging they conspired to fix the prices of air flow meters, power window motors, electronic throttle bodies, high-intensity discharge ballasts, steering angle sensors, electronic-powered steering assemblies and automatic transmission fluid warmers.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP; Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP; Trump Alioto; Becnel Law Firm; Gross Belsky Alonso; and Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP, among others.

The case has been assigned to District Judge Marianne O. Battani.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan-Southern Division case number: 2:12-md-02311

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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