Business / Corporate

Fuel data 8.8% worse for eight models than Mitsubishi Motors claimed: ministry

Kyodo

The transport ministry says mileage figures for eight Mitsubishi Motors Corp. models affected by a fuel-efficiency scandal were up to 8.8 percent poorer than their catalog data.

The ministry said Tuesday it has called on the automaker to report the correct data to the government and suspend sales of the eight models, which include the RVR and Pajero sport utility vehicles and the Mirage subcompact, until it states the proper figures in its catalog.

The ministry’s order comes four months after Japan’s sixth-biggest automaker by volume admitted it manipulated data to make four of its minicar models, including two supplied to Nissan Motor Co., look more efficient than they actually were.

Since then, the scandal has widened to include other vehicles amid revelations the company used testing methods that did not comply with Japanese regulations to obtain data needed to calculate fuel economy.

Mitsubishi Motors said it plans to suspend sales of the eight models for around two weeks and pay up to ¥100,000 to each owner, targeting 76,474 units.

The struggling carmaker already incurred a loss in the April-June quarter as it booked hefty costs to deal with the fuel economy scandal, logging a group net loss of ¥129.72 billion, compared with a net profit of ¥23.99 billion a year earlier.

With Mitsubishi Motors admitting it falsified testing data in the nine models, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism conducted an independent investigation to gauge the gap between actual figures and those in the catalog.

According to the ministry, Mitsubishi Motors used data from road tests in a manner that allowed it to make the nine vehicles appear more fuel efficient.

Apologizing for the latest finding, Mitsubishi Motors Chairman Osamu Masuko said at a news conference Tuesday that the company “should have used neutral data.”

The automaker’s falsification could affect tax cuts for eco-friendly cars, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has carried out to prop up the economy.

Mitsubishi Motors plans to compensate users of the affected vehicles if they receive less in tax benefits than they expected, company officials said.

The transport ministry, meanwhile, said the fuel economy in 26 vehicle models being sold by Suzuki Motor Corp., which was also calculated based on improper data, was better than their catalog figures.

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