Japan’s transport ministry stated on Wednesday it had performed spot examinations at 2 plants producing Nissan Motor vehicles as part of an investigation into final checks, days after abnormalities forced the company to 1.2 million cars in the country.
The two inspections on Tuesday followed examinations at four more factories last week, the ministry stated. The first four found the automaker had carried out unapproved final vehicle checks for the majority of domestic models that had not yet been sold, prompting Nissan to suspend new vehicle registrations with the federal government.
By Monday, Japan’s second-biggest automaker had found troublesome checks of more vehicles, and stated it would recall all new passenger cars sold the country during the last 3 years.
This is the 2nd major instance of misconduct concerning a Japanese automaker in 2 years, after Mitsubishi Motors stated it tampered with fuel economy tests for some domestic-market models. Where as the recall is unlikely to have a considerable influence on profits, it is a shock to Nissan’s track record just as it enjoys strong domestic sales, experts said.
In examining Nissan’s factories, the ministry found names of certified specialists used on documents to sign off final car checks performed by non-certified specialists, two people with understanding of the matter told Reuters.
It was possible the practice took place at most or all the six plants, said individuals, who refused to be identified as they were not authorized to talk to media on the matter.
Vehicles sold in Japan should be registered with the government. As part of this process, throughout final checks, vehicles need to undergo an extra treatment carried out by plant professionals who can be certified by the automakers.
Nissan confirmed the current two ministry inspections were at its Tochigi plant and at the Auto Works Kyoto plant owned by an affiliate.
“We are presently carrying out an investigation into the nature of this vehicle examination problem at our plants,” spokesman Nick Maxfield wrote in an emailed statement, according to Reuters. A third-party is also associated in its probe.
Nissan’s recall consists of all the 386,000 new passenger vehicles it sold in Japan in last year, approximately 10 percent of its worldwide sales. It excludes Nissan-branded mini-vehicles produced by Mitsubishi Motors, which comprise approximately one-third of Nissan’s yearly domestic sales.
Nissan shares have dropped over 2 percent since Friday, closed down 1.2 percent at 1,089.5 yen on Wednesday.