Apr 22, 2016

    Mitsubishi Motors office raided over rigged tests


    JAPANESE Transport Ministry officials raided a Mitsubishi Motors office yesterday following a shock admission by the automaker that it falsified fuel-efficiency tests in more than 600,000 vehicles.

    They descended on a research and development centre in Nagoya and the government may slap the company with fines, the local media said.

    "This has critically damaged consumers' trust and it won't be tolerated," top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said yesterday.

    The firm's share price plunged 15 per cent on Wednesday before it confirmed reports about its misconduct, which saw unnamed employees rig tests to make cars seems more fuel-efficient than they were.

    Mitsubishi said it would halt production and sales of the affected vehicle models - mini-cars sold in Japan including some made for rival Nissan. It also warned that the number of affected vehicles would likely rise.

    Mitsubishi's top executive conceded on Wednesday that the brewing crisis would take a bite out of its bottom line, as it widens its probe to cars that it sold overseas.

    "This is not a simple problem and we need time" to assess the impact, president Tetsuro Aikawa said at a news briefing.

    The rigged figures were discovered after Nissan found inconsistencies in fuel-economy data and reported it.

    Japan's No. 2 automaker said it would halt sales of the affected mini-cars but added that it had no immediate plans to change its business relationship with Mitsubishi.

    Mini-cars, or kei-cars, are small vehicles with 660cc gasoline engines that are hugely popular in the Japanese market, although they have found little success abroad.

    Mitsubishi sold more than a million vehicles at home and overseas in its latest fiscal year.

    The collapse of the company's stock price on Wednesday was its biggest one-day plunge since 2004.