Mitsubishi admits it falsified mileage tests
Mitsubishi Motors admitted it had falsified fuel economy test data to make emissions levels look more favourable, sending shares in the Japanese car company tumbling more than 15pc and wiping $1.2bn (€1bn) from its market value.
Tetsuro Aikawa, president of Japan's sixth-largest automaker by market value, bowed in apology at a news conference in Tokyo for the biggest scandal at Mitsubishi since a defect cover-up over a decade ago.
The problem was reportedly found after Nissan pointed out inconsistencies in data, the company said.
Mitsubishi then conducted an internal probe and found that tire pressure data was falsified to make mileage appear better than it actually was.
"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," Mr Aikawa said.
He said that although he was unaware the irregularities were happening, "I feel responsible".
Shares in the company closed down more than 15pc at 733 yen, the stock's biggest one-day drop in almost 12 years.
In 2000, Mitsubishi revealed that it covered up safety records and customer complaints. Four years later, it admitted to broader problems going back decades. It was Japan's worst automotive recall scandal at the time.
The company says that 625,000 mini-car models produced since mid-2013 were affected. These include 157,000 built for Mitsubishi and 468,000 manufactured for Nissan. The four models are the Mitsubishi eK Wagon and ek Space, and the Nissan Dayz and Dayz Roox.
However, the tests, which are different to the ones required by Japanese law, are also understood to have been used on other Mitsubishi cars manufactured for the Japanese market.
Mitsubishi said it would stop making and selling those cars, and has set up an independent panel to investigate the issue.
Joe Rundle, a senior officer at UK trading company ETX Capital, said the revelation from Mitsubishi "calls into question whether we have a much larger industry-wide scandal on our hands".
He said: "We've always thought that the VW emissions scandal would rumble on and now it looks like the dodginess is not confined to the German carmaker.
"If - and only if - US carmakers are involved too, it could be a devastating blow to the industry."