In explosive news from Mitsubishi Japan, the carmaker has admitted to deliberately rigging fuel consumption results for a number of its own models, and also for two models it manufactures for Nissan, marketed under the Nissan badge.
The four models initially caught in the deception are ‘kei cars’, very small cars sold in a special tax and insurance category under Japan’s tight automotive regulatory and compliance regime.
The four models named are Mitsubishi’s eK Wagon and eK Space, plus the Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox, built by Mitsubishi for Nissan.
It was Nissan in fact that blew the whistle after discovering the discrepancies while in development of the next generation of the affected vehicles.
“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,” a statement from Nissan said.
At this stage, 625,000 cars are affected, 468,000 of which are Nissans, the remaining 157,000 being Mitsubishis.
Not the extent of the deception
Unfortunately, however, this story has further to run. The four models named are not the extent of the deception.
Other Mitsubishi models, the statement from Mitsubishi concedes, have been subject to the same testing method which was “different from the one required by Japanese law”, and that it is now conducting investigations into cars it produces for overseas markets.
“During our internal investigation, we have found that the testing method which was different from the one required by Japanese law has been applied to other models manufactured by MMC for the Japanese domestic market,” the statement said.
“Taking into account the seriousness of these issues, we will also conduct an investigation into products manufactured for overseas markets.”
Mitsubishi has now stopped production and sales of the affected cars and Nissan has done likewise. Mitsubishi has also conceded it and Nissan will begin discussions for “compensation regarding this issue”.
A question-mark on Australian Mitsubishi models
For its part, Mitsubishi Australia has released a statement confirming that none of the “four mini-car models” are sold in Australia.
It has, however, also conceded that “our parent company has found that the same testing method has been applied to other models manufactured by MMC for the Japanese domestic market”, and that it is to also “investigate products manufactured for overseas markets”.
MMC company president, Tetsuro Aikawa, who bowed deeply in apology at a media briefing, said: “The wrongdoing was intentional. It is clear the falsification was done to make the mileage look better. But why they would resort to fraud to do this is still unclear.”
This bad day looks like it is going to get quite a bit worse for MMC. We’ll keep you posted.
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