Plaintiff Accuses Tiremakers of Price Fixing

Feb. 8, 2024

A complaint accusing six tire manufacturers of price fixing has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Plaintiff Rena Sampayan is seeking class action status for the complaint, which accuses Bridgestone Americas Inc., Continental Tire the Americas LLC, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Michelin North America Inc., Nokian Tyres Inc., Pirelli Tire LLC and unnamed “doe defendants” of violating the Sherman Act by establishing “an unlawful agreement – some of the largest tire manufacturers in the United States and the world - to artificially increase and fix the prices of new replacement tires for passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses sold in the United States.”

The action alleges that the six tiremakers “coordinated price increases, including through public communications,” and states the allegation is “supported by, among other things, defendants’ sudden and dramatic parallel price increases, which absent a conspiracy to fix prices, ran contrary to their economic interests; EC (European Commission) dawn raids of defendants; the high level of market concentration in the tire market; significant barriers to entry; lack of economic substitutes for tires; standardization of tires with a high degree of interchangeability; and the myriad opportunities that employees of defendants had to conspire with one another to fix prices of tires.”

The plaintiff “seeks to represent a class of individuals that purchased tires directly from defendants at supracompetitive prices to recover treble damages, injunctive relief and other relief as appropriate, based on defendants’ violation of federal antitrust laws. Plaintiff demands a trial by jury.”

When reached for comment, a Michelin spokesperson said that “Michelin strictly complies with antitrust laws in all countries where it operates. We will cooperate with regulators and defend ourselves in any litigation that is filed.”

A spokesperson for Nokian said, “We can confirm that we have been sued, but do not comment on an ongoing legal matter. We always operate in compliance with laws and regulations, ensuring everything is done correctly. We comply with relevant anti-trust laws and do not tolerate any violations of them.”

A spokesperson for Pirelli said, “We do not comment on ongoing proceedings.”

A spokesperson for Continental said, “Integrity is an integral part of Continental’s corporate culture and is anchored in our code of conduct, which applies to all Continental companies worldwide. We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to compliance and thoroughly follow up on and investigate all alleged allegations. Our policy (is) to not comment regarding active litigation.”

A spokesperson for Bridgestone said Bridgestone "does not comment on pending litigation."

Download the full complaint filing below.