Mitsubishi expresses ‘deep apologies’ after falsifying fuel economy tests
Mitsubishi Motor Corporation has become the latest carmaker to become embroiled in a testing scandal, after the company admitted to manipulating data to make 625,000 vehicles appear more fuel-efficient.
The Japanese carmaker has admitted it “conducted testing improperly” in order to enhance fuel consumption data for a variety of its vehicle models. The company also revealed that its testing methods were not compliant with Japanese law.
A statement from the company reads: “In connection with the certification process for the mini-cars manufactured by [Mitsubishi], we found that with respect to the fuel consumption testing data submitted to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), [Mitsubishi] conducted testing improperly to present better fuel consumption rates than the actual rates; and that the testing method was also different from the one required by Japanese law.
“We express deep apologies to all of our customers and stakeholders for this issue.”
Mitsubishi revealed that it falsified 157,000 of its own-brand light passenger cars such as the eK mini-wagon, as well as 468,000 vehicles produced on behalf of Nissan under the DAYZ brand since mid-2013.
‘Inconvenience and concern’
While both Mitsubishi and Nissan insist no UK vehicles are affected, Mitsubishi will now launch an investigation into products manufactured for overseas markets, with a panel of external experts leading a committee.
Nissan – which has been leading the charge on the electrification of the automotive market – has revealed it is now working with owners of new vehicles after the company “voluntarily directed” dealers in Japan to stop sales of the affected models.
A Nissan spokesperson told edie: “Nissan recently became aware of discrepancies in data obtained from Mitsubishi concerning our Mitsubishi-sourced, Japanese-market kei-cars. This discovery was made during Nissan’s assessment of data from the current model as part of our development of the next generation vehicle.
“We immediately brought the discrepancy to the attention of Mitsubishi as they are responsible for the development and homologation of the current vehicles. In response to Nissan’s request, Mitsubishi admitted that data had been intentionally manipulated in its fuel economy testing process for certification.
“Following consultation with MLIT, we have voluntarily directed dealers in Japan to stop sales of the affected vehicles. We are working on solutions to support impacted owners. Nissan remains committed to providing complete and accurate information to our customers.
“Nissan understands and regrets the inconvenience and concern this will cause our valued customers.”
Shares in Mitsubishi Motors have reportedly dropped by more than 15% in Tokyo – its biggest fall for nearly 12 years. The fall in stocks came as a result of Nissan’s consultation with MLIT which forced Mitsubishi to come clean.
Mitsubishi’s fall from grace follows significant financial damage suffered by Volkswagen (VW), which saw shares fall by 10% in less than a day, after the German manufacturer rigged internal emissions tests. The aftermath of the high-profile VW scandal saw the group’s chief executive Martin Winterkorn resign.
Despite the damaged cause by ‘dieselgate’, European Member States have since reached a compromised deal on the introduction of “real-world” emissions tests, which essentially allows vehicles to continue emitting more than twice the agreed pollution limits.
Earlier this year, French ministers had to reassure Renault owners and investors that no performance-modifying software was detected in engines of Renault vehicles, following reports that fraud investigators had inspected three of the carmaker’s sites.
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