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Mitsubishi admits tweaking fuel-use figures

Dark Dayz: Nissan's Dayz mini car is built by Mitsubishi, which has admitted to manipulating its fuel economy figures.

More than 625,000 mini cars built by Mitsubishi had falsified fuel economy figures

Mitsubishi logo21 Apr 2016

MITSUBISHI Motors Corporation (MMC) has admitted to manipulating fuel economy test results for 625,000 Japanese domestic market 'kei' cars, the majority if which are sold by Nissan.

The car-maker came clean yesterday, confirming that fuel economy test data submitted to the Japanese ministry for land, infrastructure, transport and tourism had been tweaked to show a better result.

Mitsubishi said in an official statement: “MMC conducted testing improperly to present better fuel consumption rates than the actual rates and that the testing method was also different from the one required by Japanese law.” “We express deep apologies to all of our customers and stakeholders for this issue,” the statement read.

The models impacted are 157,000 examples of the tiny Mitsubishi eK Wagon and eK Space, as well as 468,000 examples of the Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox, built in Japan by MMC between June 2013 and March 2016 for Nissan Motor Company.

In the statement, MMC acknowledged that it was Mitsubishi, not Nissan, that conducted the tests and submitted results to the government department.

In fact, Nissan found irregularities in the fuel consumption data during development of the next-generation versions of the mini cars.

According to the statement, Nissan “requested MMC to review the running resistance value set by MMC during tests by MMC. In the course of our internal investigation upon this request, MMC learned of the improper conduct that MMC used the running resistance value for testing, which provided more advantageous fuel consumption rates than the actual rates.” MMC says it has ceased production of both models, while it and Nissan have stopped sales of the cars in Japanese dealerships.

The car-maker admitted that during its internal investigation, it had discovered other models built by MMC for the Japanese market were tested using a method that differed from the one required by Japanese law.

MMC said that given the discovery, it would conduct an investigation into models sold in markets outside Japan, meaning that some models sold in Australia are likely to be tested, although it is unclear what models would be scrutinised.

The committee investigating the issue will consist of only eternal experts, according to MMC, which said it would publish the results “as soon as it is complete”.

A statement from local subsidiary, Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited says it would “continue to monitor the situation closely”, but clarified that none of the impacted models are sold in Australia.

According to Automotive News, MMC's shares plunged by 15 per cent, more than they have fallen in more than a decade.

The publication reported that MMC's president Tetsuro Aikawa and two other key MMC executives bowed in apology at a media briefing in Tokyo discussing the scandal.

The issue follows Volkswagen Group's massive diesel emissions cheating scandal that has engulfed the German automotive giant since September last year.

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