Mitsubishi, fighting for its corporate life, launched a counterstrike Wednesday to protect itself from the onslaught of dismal fuel economy rating news. In a message to dealers, the chief operating officer of Mitsubishi North America said internal testing showed no problems from 2013 to 2017, seeming to dispute reports to the contrary.
On Tuesday, the automaker affirmed that its fuel economy testing program was phony. For 25 years – 1991 to 2016 – Mitsubishi falsified the results of its fuel economy testing program, Tetsuro Aikawa told reporters at a press conference. He also announced that the automaker had not followed the Japanese testing protocols since 2001.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, launching the offensive to the dismal news developments, said that an internal audit could find no problems with cars sold in the United States between 2013 and 2017. “Our findings confirm that fuel economy testing data for these U.S. market vehicles is accurate and complies with established EPA procedures,” Don Swearingen, chief operating officer, told dealers. Swearingen made the comment in a letter to dealers.
In its disclosure to reporters Tuesday, Mitsubishi indicated that the faulty testing methods it used affected two lines in Japan, the eK minicar and the Nissan Dayz and Rooz models. Mitsubishi built those models for Nissan. Nissan was the source that initially found the testing discrepancy. Mitsubishi made nearly 700,000 vehicles for Nissan. “I’m taking this as a case that could affect our company’s existence,” Aikawa said at the press conference. “My mission is to solve the issue.”
Responding to the disclosures, the market continued to pound the automaker. In about five days, the company saw its value cut by about $4 billion. Some analysts are questioning whether the automaker can survive this latest scandal. Another similar scandal in the 1990s nearly pushed the automaker over the edge.
Meantime, the unrelenting pressure continued on the automaker. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told the automaker to submit new test results. Specifically, the EPA asked for additional “coast down” measurements for its vehicles. The tests are used to figure rolling resistance and aerodynamic factors into fuel economy test numbers. The reason the “coast down” measures are needed is that the tests are done on stationary vehicles, using dynamometers.
Automotive News provided the information for this story.