Business / Corporate

Nissan may launch recall in Japan after finding new cases of inspection misconduct

Kyodo

Nissan Motor Co. has found fresh cases of misconduct in vehicle inspections and may launch a recall, sources close to the matter said Thursday, in the latest setback for the global carmaker mired in quality control issues and the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

The latest finding comes after the company pledged to tighten compliance to prevent recurrence of a string of improper practices at its domestic plants.

The automaker is also under increased scrutiny after its longtime leader Ghosn was arrested last month for alleged underreporting of remunerations.

Nissan said in September last year that it found uncertified employees had checked vehicles for many years, leading it to recall over 1 million vehicles sold in Japan.

The automaker then admitted in July this year to fabricating exhaust emission and fuel economy data on vehicles manufactured for the Japanese market.

In September, Nissan submitted a report to the government containing measures to prevent any further fabrication of exhaust emissions and fuel efficiency data.

“We have hurt the trust of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and our customers,” Nissan President Hiroto Saikawa said that month in handing the report to Tetsuya Okuda, the ministry’s director-general of the Road Transport Bureau. “I offer a deep apology.”

Nissan removed Ghosn as chairman last month following his arrest and a months-long internal probe, which was triggered by a whistleblower report that it said had uncovered “significant acts of misconduct.”

He was arrested by Tokyo prosecutors on Nov. 19 on suspicion of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act by reporting only ¥5 billion of a ¥10 billion compensation package during the five years from fiscal 2010.

Saikawa, Renault SA’s acting CEO Thierry Bollore and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. CEO Osamu Masuko agreed Nov. 30 to lead the three-way alliance through a consultative process between them, in an apparent departure from the decision-making process that until now has mainly been led by the partnership’s former CEO and Chairman Ghosn, according to Japanese executives.

Still, the struggle for leadership is expected to continue. Under the current accord between Nissan and Renault the post of CEO and chairman of the alliance is to be assumed by someone from the French automaker, analysts said.