The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association on Tuesday compiled a report on the industry’s responses to consumer complaints in an effort to regain trust in the wake of last summer’s scandal in which Mitsubishi Motors Corp. admitted to covering up complaints for decades.
The report — submitted to the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry — calls on management to clarify the roles of those responsible for handling consumer complaints.
It also says company executives should establish a clear and thorough system for the entire process, from receiving consumer complaints, checking the alleged faults as well as their judgments on the cases in question.
The Mitsubishi Motor fiasco came to light in July, and JAMA set up a special committee in October to set an example of how car manufacturers should deal with the issue within their companies.
The industry group added that it will make efforts to make consumers and car dealers better aware of the recall system by handing out brochures and spreading word through the Internet.
JAMA said its committee on technical issues will continue discussions to clarify what sort of faults will make recalls necessary.
Crash test winners
The Honda Civic and Toyota Estima were ranked as the safest of the country’s most popular automobiles in the past six months, the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said Tuesday.
In its safety assessment for fiscal 2000, the ministry conducted crash tests that covered three scenarios — a side impact, a full-frontal crash and an “offset” crash, in which 40 percent of the vehicle’s front end collides with a concrete barrier.
Japan is the first country to test all three scenarios; the United States and European countries conduct only front and side-impact tests, according to the ministry.
In the ministry’s six-star rating system, the Civic and Estima each won five stars for the safety of its driver’s seat and six stars for the front passenger seat, the ministry said. A full score means there is a low probability of a passenger being injured in the head, neck, chest or legs.
The Toyota Crown and Mark II, Nissan Cedric and Honda Odyssey shared second place by winning five stars for both the driver and front passenger seats.
The new version of Toyota’s Prius hybrid car, which was not on the best-seller list but was tested at the automaker’s request, also won five stars for the two front seats.
In full-frontal and side-impact crash tests, an automobile carrying dummies hits a concrete barrier at 55 kph. The speed for the offset crash test is 64 kph.
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