Tokyo, Japan : Suzuki Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co. violated inspection rules for measuring exhaust emissions and fuel economy in more than 6,000 vehicles before shipping, Japan’s transport ministry announced today.
The latest scandal follows similar revelations of falsifying test data at Subaru Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.
The ministry said the total number of two- and four-wheel vehicles involved totaled 6,480 among the three companies. It said that the three manufacturers inappropriately altered measurements.
According to the ministry, the violations were found in a section of the final inspection process, which checks the vehicles’ exhaust emissions and fuel economy prior to shipment. The inspection is done at random on about one out of 100 vehicles.
Suzuki reported violations on 6,401 vehicles from June 2012; Mazda in 72 from November 2014; and Yamaha in seven from January 2016.
For Suzuki, the number in violation totaled 50 percent of the selected vehicles for inspection.
Toshihiro Suzuki, company president, apologized at a news conference on Aug. 9.
“This is a huge problem in that such a large number of vehicles were dealt with wrongly,” he said. “The organizational management system of our company doesn’t work.”
In July, the transport ministry had instructed major automobile and two-wheel vehicle companies to check whether similar flaws have occurred in response to the discovery that Subaru and Nissan had altered figures in the exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency inspections prior to shipment.
The alterations at the three companies were found through in-house investigations after the ministry order. Other vehicle makers reported to the ministry by Aug. 8 that they had found no such violation, according to the ministry.
Keiichi Ishii, the minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, issued a statement, saying, “The inspection of exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency are important processes to guarantee environmental performance related to carbon dioxide and harmful gasses. It is extremely regrettable that the process was done inappropriately.”
The ministry plans to amend the ministerial ordinance and set measures to ensure that vehicle manufacturers can’t change inspection data.
At Subaru and Nissan, flawed inspections were found in 1,551 and 1,171 vehicles, respectively. Those two firms have not issued vehicle recalls as the altered figures did not significantly differ from the technical specifications for exhaust emissions and fuel economy.
The companies came forward after the ministry last month ordered 23 auto and motorbike companies to conduct in-house probes after it emerged Nissan and Subaru had cheated on fuel economy and emissions data.
“This is extremely regrettable as this may cause doubts among automobile users about vehicle performance and the quality-control structures of automakers,” Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii said in a statement.
The ministry said it would “examine their reports and take strict measures if necessary”.
It said most of the 20 other companies asked to examine their data had reported no misconduct, while several others were still investigating.
Investors dumped shares of the three firms after the news.
Suzuki tumbled 6.04% to ¥6 944, Mazda sank 1.30% to ¥1 327 and Yamaha Motor dived 4.63% to ¥2 820.
The admissions are the latest in a string of scandals involving data falsification and testing standard breaches in Japan’s key auto sector.
In July, Nissan admitted data on exhaust emissions and fuel economy had been “altered” for some of its vehicles, and last year the firm was forced to recall more than a million vehicles after admitting staff without proper authorisation had carried out some inspections.