Mitsubishi has admitted that it cheated fuel economy tests on a number of models it builds. Up to 625,000 cars are thought to be affected.
Official fuel economy tests were rigged on four ‘kei-car’ models sold in the Japanese domestic market. There are the Mitsubishi eK Wagon and eK Space, and the closely related Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox. 468,000 Nissans and 157,000 Mitsubishis are affected.
In a statement, Mitsubishi admitted it had “discovered fuel consumption testing data submitted to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism has been improperly presented in order to improve fuel consumption rates.”
At a press conference in Tokyo, Mitsubishi Motor president Tetsuro Aikawa said: “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.”
Incorrect tyre pressures were used during economy testing, which improved the figures returned. Mitsubishi has stopped production of the affected models and both it and Nissan have withdrawn them from sale.
It was Nissan that found the data had been manipulated. A statement said: “This discovery was made during Nissan’s assessment of data from the current model as part of our development of the next-generation vehicle. We immediately brought the discrepancy to the attention of Mitsubishi, as they are responsible for the development and homologation of the current vehicles.
“In response to Nissan’s request, Mitsubishi admitted that data had been intentionally manipulated in its fuel economy testing process for certification.”
Mitsubishi UK managing director Lance Bradley said: “Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has acted quickly and decisively. We understand that such issues are of great concern to consumers. I would like to reassure everyone that there is no evidence to suggest that UK or European models are affected.”
Mitsubishi is the sixth-biggest car manufacturer in Japan. Shares in the company fell 15% after the cheating came to light.
By Only Motors