Finnish Tire Manufacturer Nokian Admits to Manipulating Tests in the Past

Hold on to your seats, it’s coming: apparently, the cheating in the automotive industry isn’t restricted to just diesel emission levels or fuel consumption, as this latest scandal involving winter-tire specialist Nokian proves now.
Nokian WR D4 winter tire 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
In recent days, local media outlets ran reports on how the tire manufacturer mislead the consumer by willingly using specially created tires for media tests. As a result, the company’s stock exchange shares took a 9.6 percent dive, but analysts say the worst has passed.

Following the press reveals, the company’s CEO, Ari Lehtoranta, has admitted to his company offering special tires to be used during tests, tires that were not otherwise available to the public in the exact same form. He’s been in charge of Nokian Tires since autumn 2014 and guarantees that this practice hasn’t been in place ever since he took over, insisting that the company now has a very strong policy that “specifically forbids any planning or manufacturing of tires that are targeted only for car media tests.”

The tire industry is a very competitive one, with a handful of manufacturers battling to achieve supremacy. There have been other scandals in the past involving rigged tests (performed by German organization ADAC), but it’s the first time that one manufacturer takes responsibility for its actions, even though similar allegations have been made in the past.

Analysts (and even Nokian CEO, Ari Lehtoranta) agree that it’s very likely other manufacturers did the same thing in the past, arguing that the market was lacking proper regulations. With the whole Volkswagen emissions test thing still fresh in everybody’s minds, the regulators are starting to show increased interest in the way the parts suppliers test their products.

This new finding involving Nokian is a far cry from the magnitude of the Volkswagen scandal, but it is, in essence, the same thing: a manufacturer knowingly using a device created specifically to cheat a test. It remains to be seen whether Nokian’s wrongdoing - brought to the light by local business newspaper Kauppalehti - will have a ripple effect on the other tire manufacturers. So far, it was only the French giant Michelin who made a statement denying ever cheating on any type of test.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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