File picture: Suzuki.
File picture: Suzuki.

Fuel data scandal spreads to Suzuki

By AFP Staff Time of article published May 18, 2016

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Tokyo - Suzuki on Wednesday admitted it found “discrepancies” in its fuel-economy and emissions testing, but denied that it manipulated data to make cars seem more efficient than they were.

The remarks came after the carmaker's shares dived in Tokyo on reports that it had used improper testing, after rival Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi was hit by revelations that it cheated on fuel-efficiency tests for decades.

“Any wrongdoing, such as manipulation of fuel efficiency data, were not found,” Suzuki said on Wednesday.

“Some discrepancies were found in the automobile emission and fuel-efficiency testing process” between the testing method required by the government and what Suzuki did, the company statement added.

“Improper testing”

Sixteen models and about two million cars were affected, but the problem did not extend to cars sold outside Japan, according to Suzuki, which has a major presence in India through its Maruti Suzuki unit.

Suzuki said it has been using the improper testing since 2010.

The firm's shares dived on Wednesday as investors took it as the latest bad news for a global motor industry shaken by scandals over deadly defects and emissions cheating.

Suzuki stock plunged as much as 15 percent in afternoon trading.

The Suzuki news comes amid the Mitsubishi revelations and as Germany's Volkswagen struggles to drive past a worldwide emissions cheating scandal.

Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki, a descendant of the company's founding family, visited the transport ministry on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

All Japanese carmakers probed

The transport ministry has ordered all of Japan's carmakers to probe their own compliance with government testing methods after Mitsubishi admitted last month that it manipulated data to make its cars seem more fuel efficient than they were.

Major players Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Mazda have already denied any wrongdoing.

But in a separate case, Seoul said this week it will fine Nissan for allegedly manipulating emissions data on a popular diesel sports utility vehicle sold in South Korea.

The news came as an embarrassment for Japan's number two carmaker, but the company has so far not come under fire for emissions cheating in Japan or anywhere else.

Suzuki in less trouble than Mitsubishi

The Suzuki admission did not appear as serious as Mitsubishi's revelations.

“But even so, using a different testing method than the one ordered by the government is a problem,” Koji Endo, managing director at Advanced Research Japan, said earlier Wednesday.

Mitsubishi is also expected to submit a report to the ministry on its testing Wednesday.

Its president Tetsuro Aikawa plans to quit the crisis-hit company, Japan's leading Nikkei business daily said.

Last week, Nissan threw an unexpected lifeline to Mitsubishi by offering to buy 34 percent of its shares, in a deal that would give Nissan effective control over the smaller firm.


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