The discovery of improper fuel-efficiency tests involving Mitsubishi may have been going on since the 90’s, according to Bloomberg, citing the Nikkei. Tetsuji Inoue, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi however, declined to comment on the report.
Last week, the company stated that it had been using methods to test for fuel economy – which are not compliant with Japanese standards – since 2002. In another report, Japan will be setting up a task force to come up with concrete measures so as to prevent irregularities in vehicle testing. Transport Minister, Keiichi Ishii has labelled the manipulation of fuel-efficiency tests by Mitsubishi Motors as “extremely serious.”
The company has stated however, that it is unclear as to whether the method had enhanced or reduced fuel economy. Meanwhile, Nissan, which uncovered the falsified data, has stated that it will decide on its partnership as soon as “all verification is done,” according to its CEO Carlos Ghosn.
“Mitsubishi Motors has come a long way since past problems, so this is very disappointing,” president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shunichi Miyanaga expressed. “We need to think about the brand image of the Mitsubishi Group, its social responsibility and accountability for performance,” the president added.
This isn’t the first time that Mitsubishi Motors has had to deal with a scandal. In the year 2000, the company faced a recall event where it admitted to neglecting a fatal flaw in truck axles that could lead to the wheels flying off. The company had to receive two bailouts from its parent company to survive the crisis.
The latest scandal however, will likely hit the company hard, as fuel economy has been a selling point for Mitsubishi – the fourth largest automaker in Japan. The latest scandal has also put some Japanese dealers in limbo. “We don’t know what, in particular, we should do next,” said Masayasu Noguchi, a representative of Kanto Mitsubishi Motor Sales in Japan.
He noted that customers have personally told him that they are angry with the falsification. “New customers are the ones who are worried the most,” said Noguchi, adding “we have to handle this sincerely to keep them from walking away.”
As a recap, the Mitsubishi eK Wagon, eK Space along with the Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox were a few of the vehicles that had gone through improper consumption tests. Both Mitsubishi and Nissan have now halted the production and sales of the models.
Following the company’s admission of the improper fuel testing methods, Mitsubishi’s offices in Japan were then raided by officials. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi has announced a new independent committee that will look into and investigate the matter for the next three months.