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Japanese Automakers Accused of Cheating on Emissions Tests

2018-11-01 14:29 Thursday


In July, the Japanese auto industry was hit by a major scandal, in which a number of prominent automakers were accused of cheating on emissions tests. The Ministry of Transport subsequently conducted a thorough examination of the claims, involving 23 major car and motorcycle manufacturers.

The Japanese media reported that the investigation had concluded on August 9th, and found that three companies had behaved improperly during the fuel economy and emissions testing process: Suzuki, Mazda, and Yamaha.

Suzuki, Mazda, and Yamaha

Reports of fraud in the Japanese auto industry first emerged in April 2016, when Mitsubishi was found to have improved its fuel economy in fuel consumption tests by improper means. Shortly thereafter, other Japanese automakers were repeatedly exposed as having cheated on tests. Two serious irregularities have been reported this year. In Mach, Subaru admitted to tampering with the results of fuel efficiency and emissions tests of cars prior to them leaving the factory, a pattern of behavior that might date back 15 years or long. In July, Nissan acknowledged that 19 vehicle models sold in Japan had falsified data related to fuel efficiency and emissions tests.

This marks the second time that Suzuki Motor has been implicated in a fraud scandal. In May 2016, Suzuki admitted that 16 vehicle models, and as many as 2.1 million vehicles, had used illegal methods to pass fuel efficiency tests since 2010. Although nearly half of Suzuki's vehicles were found to be substandard during inspections, the company contended that its current emissions and fuel consumption status had caused no major problems, and that it had no intentions of recalling the vehicles.

In contrast, the recent revelations have implicated Mazda and Yamaha for the first time in emissions cheating. While only 3.8% and 2.1% of vehicles at the two companies were found to be substandard, the presence of emissions abuses demonstrates that the problem has expanded beyond cars, to motorcycles as well.

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