Subaru Corp. said Monday it will file for a recall of some 255,000 vehicles next week after uncertified workers were found to have carried out final car inspections.
Subaru will recall all of its 12 models that have been sold in the past three years whose owners have never had their cars undergo safety inspections required by law before delivery. The models include the “86” sports car, manufactured by Subaru for Toyota Motor Corp. The minivehicles supplied by Daihatsu Motor Co. will not be subject to recall.
On Monday, Subaru reported the results of its internal probe on the issue to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry. The recall will be carried out following talks between the carmaker and the ministry.
The ministry ordered Subaru to improve its business operations, saying the carmaker needs to submit a report compiling preventive measures in one month.
According to Subaru, unauthorized staff who were in training were conducting final vehicle inspections at two of its plants in Gunma Prefecture for more than 30 years, violating ministry regulations.
On Monday transport ministry carried out emergency inspections of the two factories.
The company said the practice was aimed at letting workers who had completed certain training and exams have hands-on experience. The uncertified inspectors also borrowed seals from authorized inspectors to sign off on documents.
Subaru President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga admitted Friday at a news conference that the malpractice was conducted systematically.
The faulty inspection practice at Subaru is the latest corporate scandal to hit Japanese manufacturers following similar misconduct at Nissan Motor Co. and data tampering at steel maker Kobe Steel Ltd.
Regarding the unauthorized vehicle checks by Nissan, a person familiar with the situation said that the carmaker had conducted inspections that did not comply with regulations for almost four decades, raising questions about the company’s internal controls.
The company’s manufacturing division likely will take responsibility for the process, said the person, who asked not to be identified. The regimen, which the government deemed faulty last month, has existed since at least 1979, according to an external investigation team the carmaker commissioned, the person said.
The team’s report will be submitted before the Yokohama-based company’s Nov. 8 results announcement.
The team will release details of the investigation and suggest measures to ensure the problem does not recur, according to a statement from the company.
Other Japanese carmakers are also conducting internal probes.
Toyota, Honda Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Daihatsu have already reported to the transport ministry that no problems were found in their inspection system.
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