Mitsubishi Admits Cheating in Fuel Economy Tests in Japan

Volkswagen’s Dieselgate is not the only scandal in the automotive industry these days, as Mitsubishi was also caught red-handed with a cheating scheme.
Mitsubishi eK Wagon - JDM model 1 photo
Japan’s sixth carmaker by volume has admitted to manipulating fuel economy data for four of the mini-cars (kei cars) it sells in the country.

Unlike Volkswagen’s Dieselgate, the situation with Mitsubishi is linked to an improper use of testing procedures, which the carmaker manipulated to make the fuel economy performance appear better.

The difference was discovered in an internal probe started by Nissan, and Mitsubishi was asked to check the results.

As Mitsubishi Motors has already announced, they have used a different standard for rolling resistance and air resistance in the fuel economy tests they performed for the homologation process of the four key-cars. The standards used were less strict than those of Japanese norms.

Volkswagen might recover from Dieselgate in a few years’ time, but Mitsubishi Motors might not have the same fate, even if the situation only affected around 600,000 cars sold by this brand.

The same day that Mitsubishi confirmed it would host a press conference to discuss the matter, the share value of the company suffered its worst drop in 12 years, exceeding 15%.

Mitsubishi only sold one million vehicles last year, and recalling 600,000 units could prove disastrous for the Japanese carmaker. Most of the cars were delivered to Nissan, as the Mitsubishi eK Wagon is affected, a model which is also sold by Nissan under the DayZ nameplate. Another affected car is the Mitsubishi eK Space, also sold by Nissan as the DayZ Roox. Mitsubishi's affected vehicles add up to 157,000 units, while those sold under the Nissan brand reach a total of 468,000 units.

Both Nissan and Mitsubishi have stopped building and selling the affected vehicles, and they are discussing a compensation plan.

As auto analysts have already said, the problem with this situation in which Mitsubishi Motors has sent itself is the potentially irreparable damage to consumer confidence. Once a company loses the trust of its potential customers, sales tend to go downhill.

The situation with Mitsubishi comes at a wrong time to be caught cheating on fuel economy and emissions, as Volkswagen’s scandal is still fresh on people’s minds and governments are expecting a fix for the 11 million vehicles affected by the German company’s cheating scheme.

press release

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