Mazda Motor, Suzuki Motor and Yamaha Motor improperly conducted tests on vehicles for fuel economy and emissions, the Japanese government stated on Thursday, providing fresh cases of compliance failures by automakers.
The results came to light following the government’s order to the automakers to check their operations after revelations of improper testing at Subaru and Nissan last year.
The conduct of automakers worldwide has come under intense scrutiny following Germany’s Volkswagen’s admission in 2015 to installing secret software in hundreds of thousands of U.S. diesel cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests.
In the Japanese cases, the automakers have not violated any laws or prompted huge recalls. But increasing list of improprieties has tarnished the image of the nation’s manufacturing industry for high-quality products and efficiency.
Suzuki, Mazda and Yamaha cleared automobiles for emissions or fuel efficiency even in cases where they were tested under inappropriate conditions, the ministry stated. The errors related to slight deviations in the speed of the automobiles during testing that should have invalidated the test outcomes.
The automakers investigated tests they had conducted over different periods of time and in Suzuki’s case they dated back to 2012.
None of the automakers discovered significant problems with actual emissions and fuel economy performance of the vehicles, which were destined for sale in the country, and do not think of any recalls.
Suzuki stated that of 12,819 sample vehicles tested for fuel economy and emissions since June 2012, about half of them had been inspected improperly.
“I deeply apologize and will lead efforts to prevent recurrence,” stated Suzuki Chief Executive Toshihiro Suzuki.
Mazda stated there were irregularities in 4 percent of comparable inspections on its cars, or just more than 70 vehicles. In Yamaha’s case, irregularities were discovered in 2 percent of inspections, or just a handful of vehicles.
Mazda and Yamaha apologized. Suzuki and Yamaha shares dropped 6 and 5 percent, and Mazda shares were dropped 1 percent.