Nissan Motor Co yesterday said that it altered the results of exhaust-emissions and fuel-economy tests of new vehicles sold in Japan, in the latest misconduct to surface at the Japanese automaker.
Nissan in September last year acknowledged that it had been carrying out illegal post-production tests at its plants, allowing unqualified employees to routinely conduct the tests.
The new misconduct surfaced while Nissan was checking on its operations.
Nissan said it found the findings “regretful,” as it was trying to correct itself, and it promised to continue to investigate.
The safety and fuel economy of all its vehicles still were within required limits and the erroneous testing would not affect exports, said Nissan, which also makes Infiniti luxury models.
In the earlier scandal, workers in training had been borrowing and using the “hanko” — chops that are used for signatures — of certified personnel. Because of the problems, Nissan has had to recall more than 1 million vehicles for reinspection.
Nissan has said that such practices were routine for decades, beginning as early as 1979.
Plant workers were aware that the procedure was illegal and covered it up when government inspectors visited the plants, it said.
Executives have taken pay cuts.
Nissan said that the problems did not result in quality problems, because they were the final step before vehicles were shipped out.
Japan’s corporate world has been hit by embarrassing scandals that raise serious questions about company ethics.
Kobe Steel has acknowledged massive fake inspections, which spanned years and affected products sent to hundreds of companies, including aluminum castings and copper tubing for autos, aircraft, appliances and trains.
Japanese scandals are often characterized by employees covering up for dubious performances and relationships to save face, sometimes out of loyalty to the company, rather than illegal enrichment for personal gain, as is more common in certain other countries.
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