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Nissan Says It Found 'Misconduct' in Exhaust, Fuel Economy Tests

An internal check found employees had falsified exhaust emission and fuel-economy data at five local factories.

Nissan Motor Co., the Japanese carmaker that was embroiled in a vehicle-inspection scandal last year, said an internal check found employees had falsified exhaust emission and fuel-economy data at five local factories.

The way the tests were conducted deviated from prescribed norms, the automaker said in a statement on Monday, adding it also found employees filed inspection reports based on altered measurements. This data manipulation happened to the sampling test, part of the final car inspection process, the automaker said.

The findings were communicated to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Nissan confirmed that all vehicles conform to Japanese safety standards.

Nissan’s announcement, following an inspection debacle that led to the recall of about 1.2 million vehicles last year, is the latest in a string of compliance scandals at carmakers including Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Subaru Corp. that has dented the reputation of Japan’s manufacturing sector. Vehicle emissions rose to prominence globally after Volkswagen AG was caught fitting devices on its diesel vehicles that helped it cheat emission standards.

Nissan dropped 4.6% in Tokyo, the largest decline since November 2016, before the company held a press conference Monday. The stock has lost 11% of its value this year.

In November, Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa, 64, said he and other officials at the carmaker will take a voluntary pay cut after the car inspection crisis led to a vehicle recall in Japan and a reduction in its profit forecast. Nissan halted vehicle registrations in Japan after its inspection process was deemed faulty by the government.

Workers not authorized to certify vehicles approved the final inspection at the very end of assembly lines and that process may have dated back to 1979 at its Tochigi plant, according to a report last year from Nissan and a third-party law firm it assigned to investigate.

Last year, Kobe Steel Ltd. said it sold products that failed quality control tests to over 500 companies. Subaru, which admitted to manipulating emission data records to match mileage submitted to the government, was also embroiled in a similar controversy as Nissan’s. Yasuyuki Yoshinaga stepped down as Subaru CEO earlier this year.

Nissan bailed out Mitsubishi Motors in 2016 after the company was caught falsifying mileage estimates for several of its vehicles. Suzuki Motor Corp. Chairman Osamu Suzuki ceded the role of CEO after the automaker admitted to using unapproved fuel-economy testing methods in 2016.

By Ma Jie

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