Business / Corporate

Mitsubishi's May auto sales halve amid mileage scandal; Nissan also hurt

Kyodo

Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s domestic vehicle sales more than halved in May from a year earlier after the automaker was hit by a fuel economy manipulation scandal, data showed Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Nissan Motor Co. also suffered a double-digit drop.

Mitsubishi marked a 51.4 percent year-on-year fall to 2,766 units, as the automaker suspended production of four minicar models, including those supplied to Nissan, after admitting to falsifying fuel efficiency data. Nissan sold 28,678 units, down 26.2 percent.

Minicar sales slid 75.0 percent to 912 units at Mitsubishi and 76.8 percent to 3,105 units at Nissan.

The domestic output of Mitsubishi plunged 39.8 percent to 24,335 units and that of Nissan was down 2.5 percent at 65,309 units.

The fuel economy scandal that first emerged in late April rocked the domestic auto industry at a time when automakers are trying to shore up demand for minicars featuring engines no larger than 660 cc.

The transport ministry found that the fuel economy of Mitsubishi minicar models was up to 16 percent worse than their stated catalog figures. Mitsubishi hopes to resume production of the minicar models affected by the scandal in July after submitting revised data.

Both Mitsubishi and Nissan have decided to start selling the minicar models on Friday.

Suzuki Motor Corp., under fire for using noncompliant testing methods and desktop calculations to obtain data needed to calculate fuel efficiency, also had a difficult month.

Suzuki’s vehicle output fell 9.2 percent to 66,200 units and sales dropped 6.6 percent to 46,257 units.

When combined, the total output of the nation’s eight major automakers rose 2.4 percent from a year earlier to 620,107 units, marking the first increase in two months, as four automakers stepped up production.

Toyota Motor Corp. said domestic production was up 12.4 percent at 241,926 units, and its sales grew 10.6 percent to 108,440 units in Japan.

Honda Motor Co.’s output increased 29.4 percent to 56,652 units, and domestic sales gained 4.5 percent to 48,735 units.

The eight carmakers, including Daihatsu Motor Co., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., and Mazda Motor Corp., reported a combined 6.8 percent increase in exports to 282,271 units. Their overseas production grew 5.3 percent to 1,548,720 units.

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