Tokyo, April 20 (IANS) The global auto industry was again rocked by a controversy on Wednesday with Japan’s sixth-largest vehicle maker Mitsubishi admitting to manipulation of data to make false claims on fuel efficiency in some 625,000 cars.
The company said the applicable vehicles are four mini-car models — “eK Wagon” and “eK Space”, that have been manufactured and sold by Mitsubishi, and the “Dayz” and “Dayz Roox” that have been made by it and supplied to Nissan Motors since June 2013.
None of these cars are sold in India.
“During our internal investigation, we found the testing method which was different from the one required by the Japanese law has been applied to other models manufactured by Mitsubishi for the Japanese domestic market,” the company said in a statement.
“Taking into account the seriousness of these issues, we will also conduct an investigation into products manufactured for overseas markets,” the company added, even as its shares plummeted 15 percent in Tokyo markets — the biggest in close to 12 years.
In January, Volkswagen had created a furore when it admitted to having violated emission norms in US, and then in a host of other markets including India, by installing illegal devices in the control systems of around 600,000 diesel cars so as to show compliance.
Prior to that in 2014, South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay tens of millions of dollars in fine to settle a litigation in the US, again for exaggerating the fuel efficiency on its cars sold in 2012 and 2013.
Mitsubishi said since it had developed the applicable cars, it was responsible for obtaining the relevant certifications, and accordingly conducted the fuel consumption testing. Nissan, however, found discrepancies in the claims and approached Mitsubishi.
“In the course of our internal investigation on this request Mitsubishi learnt of the improper conduct — that Mitsubishi used the running-resistance value for testing, which provided more advantageous fuel consumption rates than the actual rates,” the company said.
“Mitsubishi will sincerely respond to our customers who own and use the applicable cars. We have decided to stop the production and sales of the applicable cars. Nissan also has stopped sales of the applicable cars and will discuss compensation regarding this issue.”
The company said: “Taking into account the seriousness of these issues, we will also conduct an investigation into products manufactured for overseas markets.
“We plan to set up a committee consisting of only external experts. We will publish the results of our investigation as soon as it is complete,” it said.