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Employees of the Japanese automotive manufacturer have admitted falsifying tyre pressures to manipulate mileage rates.
"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," said Tetsuro Aikawa, President, Mitsubishi Motors, who bowed deeply in a mea culpa gesture during a press conference in Tokyo today (April 20).
After years of struggle to regain consumer confidence after defects scandals in the early 2000s that covered up problems such as failing brakes, faulty clutches and fuel tanks that fell off vehicles, Mitsubishi’s announcement has sent shares down by over 15% in the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the biggest one-day fall in nearly 12 years.
The issue was brought to light by Nissan who found inconsistencies in the cars manufactured by Mitsubishi for the brand; around 470,000 vehicles were manufactured by Mitsubishi for Nissan. Both Japan's transportation ministry and Nissan have told dealers to stop selling the affected vehicles.
In 2014, South Korean car manufacturers Hyundai and Kia agreed paid US$350 million in U.S penalties for overstating their vehicles' fuel economy ratings as well as resolving claims from customers.