Mitsubishi president steps down over test-fixing scandal

Departure

The president of Mitsubishi Motors is to step down over the Japanese carmaker’s test-fixing scandal.

Tetsuro Aikawa, who became the company’s president and chief operating officer in June 2014, has denied any personal involvement in the scandal – which involved 625,000 cars over 25 years – but has apologised to customers and shareholders. His resignation is expected to take effect on 24 June, once it is approved by shareholders. A successor is yet to be announced.

The scandal widened on Wednesday, as fellow Japanese carmaker Suzuki Motor Corporation said it had found discrepancies in its fuel economy testing affecting 16 models, or 2.1m vehicles. The company said proper testing had since shown that the mileage data did not need amending.

The chief executive, Osamu Suzuki, denied cheating, saying that employees did not intentionally use improper data. “The company apologises for the fact that we did not follow rules set by the country,” he said.

The news sent Suzuki shares down 15% at one stage and they closed 9.4% lower.

Suzuki’s improper tests do not affect any models sold abroad. The Japanese government ordered all carmakers to check their mileage tests after the Mitsubishi scandal broke.

Nissan, Japan’s second biggest carmaker after Toyota, moved in to take a controlling stake in Mitsubishi last week, and vowed to rebuild trust in the company.

In April, Mitsubishi admitted using fuel-economy testing methods that breached Japanese regulations for 25 years. It manipulated test data for several models sold in Japan, including two it produced for Nissan. Mitsubishi has since extended its investigation to cover cars made for overseas markets.

Mitsubishi reiterated that top management had not ordered the mileage fraud, but aggressive internal targets had put pressure on employees to overstate the fuel economy of its cars.

The company admitted that it did not carefully inspect much of the mileage-testing work that was carried out by a subsidiary. The test manipulation may affect all models sold in Japan, including discontinued ones.

Shares in Mitsubishi have lost more than 30% of their value since the scandal surfaced.

Nissan discovered mileage tests had been faked because of a discrepancy with its own tests on Mitsubishi-made minicar models sold under the Nissan brand.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Julia Kollewe, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 18th May 2016 15.14 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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