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Mitsubishi Motors likely used unapproved testing method on Pajero, i-MiEV

Kyodo

Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s Pajero sport utility vehicle is among roughly 10 models tested using a method not compliant with Japanese regulations to gauge fuel economy, sources close to the matter said Friday.

Mitsubishi Motors is expected to gather new data in accordance with Japanese standards and submit it to the transport ministry, the sources said.

The 10 models also include the RVR, the Outlander and the i-MiEV electric car.

The Japanese automaker measured air and tire resistance under a testing method used in the United States. The method can save testing time but is not approved in Japan.

Mitsubishi Motors admitted earlier this week that the method had been used on around 10 models since 2002 but said its impact on fuel economy should be minimal.

Mitsubishi Motors has been stung by revelations that data were manipulated to make four of its minicars look more fuel efficient than they actually are.

The fuel economy of the eK Wagon, eK Space, as well as the Dayz and Dayz Roox supplied to Nissan Motor Co., was boosted by 5 percent to 10 percent, Mitsubishi Motors said earlier. More than 600,000 vehicles are affected.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has been inspecting a technology center of Mitsubishi Motors to get an idea of the magnitude of the scandal.

Transport minister Keiichi Ishii urged Mitsubishi Motors to respond sincerely to the revelations that could hurt public trust in Japanese products, as he raised questions about its stance on compliance.

“I want (Mitsubishi Motors) to address this issue sincerely, including buying back (cars from its customers),” Ishii told reporters.

As the government relies on data submitted by automakers to evaluate fuel efficiency in Japan, Ishii indicated that the current evaluation system may need to be reviewed.

Mitsubishi Motors has until next Wednesday to report back to the transport ministry with more details of data manipulation.

The latest revelations are another setback for Mitsubishi Motors, which is struggling to move on from a spate of past scandals. Mitsubishi Motors shares continued to plunge, ending Friday down 13.6 percent at ¥504.

The automaker suffered a major blow in 2000 when it was found to have covered up consumer claims to avoid recalls and had been secretly repairing flaws for some 30 years.

Fatal accidents involving its faulty vehicles ensued in 2002 while the company’s recalls were still partial.