May 19, 2016

    Suzuki hit by reports of improper testing


    SUZUKI shares dived 15 per cent yesterday on reports that it may have used improper fuel-efficiency testing methods, as rival Japanese automaker Mitsubishi wrestles with a fuel-economy cheating scandal.

    The Tokyo-listed firm plunged to 2,450 yen in afternoon trading as investors pressed the sell button on the small car maker, which has sales of almost three million vehicles annually.

    Company chairman Osamu Suzuki will visit the transport ministry to discuss the issue, a company spokesman said.

    He declined to comment on reports by public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News agency saying Suzuki was using a fuel-economy testing method different from one required by government regulators.

    The Mainichi newspaper quoted company sources as saying that Suzuki's testing did not result in false fuel-economy data.

    "The company has to make a report on its testing methods at the transport ministry," the spokesman said.

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

    Mitsubishi was also expected to submit a report to the ministry on its testing yesterday.

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

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

    The scandal - reported to cover almost every model sold in Japan since the early 1990s - also includes mini-cars produced by Mitsubishi for Nissan as part of a joint venture.