Nissan Motor has admitted that its employees have been found to be falsifying product-quality data for 19 vehicle models sold in Japan. According to currently available data, the tampering incidents date back to 2013 and have involved 10 employees. However, it is possible that the issue goes back even further and could involve more employees.
Nissan discovered the issue while conducting an internal review of emissions and fuel economy tests at its production plants in Japan. Nissan said that it had retained Japanese law firm Nishimura & Asahi to lead the investigation into the falsifications and that it expects the investigation to take one month to complete. The company said in a statement, “Nissan understands and regrets the concern and inconvenience caused to stakeholders.”
Nissan said it had found that inspection reports were based on altered measurements. Of 2,200 sample tests performed at six plants, 1,200 at five locations showed falsification. The company also found that the sample test environments were not in line with domestic standards, testing equipment had not been calibrated properly, and mileage data had been overstated to appear more favorable. All models still complied with Japanese safety and emissions standards and the falsified testing did not affect exports.
This is the second major scandal to hit Nissan in the space of a year. In the earlier incident, the automaker had to recall more than one million vehicles for additional inspections after discovering that workers in training had been carrying out vehicle inspections and using the stamps of certified personnel to sign off on them. While the practice had been routine for decades, plant workers were aware that it was illegal and actively worked to cover it up. Nissan blamed the problem on staff shortages.
The Japanese manufacturing industry has been hit with scandal after scandal in the past few years, raising serious questions about company ethics. Mitsubishi Motors and Suzuki Motor admitted two years ago to using improper methods on fuel economy tests. Airbag maker Takata was recently responsible for the largest auto recall in history. Kobe Steel, a major Japanese manufacturer, acknowledged falsifying quality data for years, affecting products sent to hundreds of companies. The scandals have thrown global supply chains into turmoil and raised questions about Japan’s ability to manufacture quality products at mass-market prices.