BOXBERG, Germany – It was an emotionally painful moment two months ago when Robert Bosch, the world’s largest auto supplier, pled guilty to federal charges of price-fixing for engine components and agreed to pay a $57.8 million fine in the U.S., says the company’s top automotive executive.

Rolf Bulander, a Bosch board member who is chairman of the supplier’s Mobility Solutions business sector, says the actions of individuals who conspired to allocate the supply or rig prices of spark plugs, oxygen sensors and starter motors to Detroit’s three automakers “did not fit” with the company’s corporate culture.

“We took our lessons from that,” Bulander tells U.S. journalists at the supplier’s biennial international press briefing and technology deep-dive here.

Bosch is the third European-based company implicated in the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into anti-competitive conduct in the automotive parts industry. The company was involved in the conspiracy from 2000 until at least July 2011.

Asked if the economics of the automotive components business remain so challenged that suppliers find themselves having to take desperate measures to survive, Bulander admits competition is fierce in the market.

But he adds: “This is not an excuse for violating antitrust regulations.”

As part of the guilty plea, Bosch has agreed to an extensive training program that already has reached 32,000 people within the organization, Bulander says.

“We have enlarged our compliance organization,” he says. “We have made our own investigation, so we are quite sure we have now done everything to comply with anti-trust regulations.”

The training sessions started with Bosch sales teams at the personal level, then were reinforced with additional online training and identified activities that are and are not compliant. “What’s the difference from 20 years ago and how to deal with situations where compliance could be violated,” Bulander says of the instruction.

Most importantly, Bulander says the training explains how employees should respond if questionable situations arise. “So we made a lot of contributions to that.”

He refers to the company founder, who said more than 100 years ago that doing business honestly and fairly is a value. “This is still the value,” he says.