Getting Hosed – Price fixing in the rubber market

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We have written here before about what price fixing in the rubber market means to the motorcycle industry. The corporate corruption on the part of our beloved suppliers continues.

According to this Oligopoly Watch post “Getting hosed“, the EU competition commission recently issued $173 million in fines to six global corporations for conspiring to fix the price of marine hose. Included in the list:

  • Bridgestone Tire and Rubber (Japan)
  • Trelleborg SA(Sweden)
  • Manuli Rubber Industries (Italy)
  • Dunlop Oil and Marine (UK-based, but a part of Herman conglomerate Continental Tire Group)
  • Parker ITR (Us/Italy)

Any of those names sound familiar? Getting credit for an also-ran position is Japan’s Yokohama, which chose to expose the cartel to avoid fines. These companies control the great majority of a world-wide commodity product — rubber — that is used for a lot of motorcycle parts besides tires.

According to the article, there is some hope as the UK appears to be moving more aggressively toward criminal investigations of complicit executives. It’s about time. After a dozen years of letting companies do whatever they want we need a serious redirection of anti-trust action.

As a side note we, as motorcyclists, need to be extremely cynical that global corporations have our best interests at heart. They do not. Not Honda. Not Suzuki. Not Yamaha. Not Kawasaki. Not BMW. Not HD. None of them. And we need to be extremely vigilant that these companies do not co-opt our rider organizations for their own goals just because they have the money.

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