Mitsubishi Lied About Fuel Economy Numbers For 625,000 Cars


There will be smiles in the executive suites at Volkswagen today as the spotlight on cheating. lying, weaseling car companies has moved on, however briefly, from it to Mitsubishi. The Japanese auto maker admitted yesterday that it deliberately misstated the fuel economy numbers for 625,000 cars it built since the middle of 2013.

Mitsubishi CEO apologizes

The cars involved include the Mitsubishi eK mini-wagon sold in various markets (but not in the United States) as well as 468,000 similar cars made for Nissan. All are what is known as Kei cars in Japan. That is a class of small automobiles limited by law to an engine size of 660 cc or less. Its announcement said it would stop manufacturing those cars immediately and would set up an independent panel to determine how all this cheating and lying happened.

Tetsuro Aikawa, president of Japan’s sixth largest auto maker by market value, bowed deeply and offered an abject apology at a news conference in Tokyo yesterday. “The wrongdoing was intentional. It is clear the falsification was done to make the mileage look better. But why they would resort to fraud to do this is still unclear,” he said.

In a separate statement, Mitsubishi said. “We express deep apologies to all of our customers and stakeholders for this issue. Taking into account the seriousness of these issues, we will also conduct an investigation into products manufactured for overseas markets.” The announcement trimmed over a billion dollars from the company’s share price. Shares were down 15% on Tuesday.

The cheating came to light after Nissan did its own testing and found the cars it was getting from Mitsubishi had lower fuel economy than expected. It appears the engineers who did the testing substantially over-inflated the tires of test vehicles. Hard tires have less rolling resistance, which results in inflated fuel economy figures.

The admission puts greater focus on the danger of allowing manufacturers to self-report emissions, fuel economy, and safety data to regulators. Market pressure makes it all too easy to justify cheating in the name of meeting sales goals. The Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal would never have come to light if independent testing didn’t reveal the discrepancy. Putting the onus on companies to provide accurate compliance information is like asking bank robbers to correctly report the proceeds from their nefarious activities on their tax returns.

Source: BBC News

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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • Garrick Staples

    Absolutely incredible! I wonder how many more of these scandals will come to light from the legacy car companies.

    • Steve Hanley

      Cheating on fuel economy tests is so wide spread, it is easier to count the number of companies that DON’T do than the number that do. What is interesting here is that Nissan is the one that threw Mitsubishi under the bus. One Japanese company almost never has bad things to say about another Japanese company, This is very unusual.

      • super390

        Maybe all the world’s car companies will start betraying each other. Like the scandal that destroyed the old Pacific Coast Conference, the big West Coast college sports league until the 1960s. Players were getting paid by rich boosters in the boom economy of the time. Eventually the code of silence collapsed, everyone turned each other in to the NCAA in a orgy of retaliation, and the conference simply collapsed and everyone went independent for years until the Pac-8 was formed.

      • CogitoErgoZoom

        Nissan is almost owned and run by Renault

  • Rick Danger

    Curiouser and curiouser…
    Love your analogy at the end of the article Steve 🙂

  • marco

    I wouldn’t be surprised if all the companies are cheating at some level or another.

    • Kevin M

      Anyone that thinks this is not regular practice is a fool! The car industry is corrupt and has been for a very long time!

  • Kevin M

    What is more pathetic than what they did is that it is only a minor setback because people today dont care and will not hold them accountable. News today, buy a Mitsubishi car tomorrow and rave about how great a company they are.

  • CogitoErgoZoom

    NOWHERE near, not even a spec to what VEE DUD has done

    They cheated on MPG claim, NOT emissions

    Only sold in Japan

    Nissan knifed its supplier, nice