Mitsubishi is not a vehicle that you often hear a great deal about, they’re a manufacturer that typically has been able to fly under the radar. This is no easy task, but they’ve been able to keep their business to themselves over the past couple of years. They manufacture a handful of well-received cars, but they manage to make very few waves in the automotive industry; until now, that is. Recently, Mitsubishi has been under fire for misrepresenting themselves in terms of their vehicles’ gas mileage, and the Japanese manufacturer has little to say in defense of their actions.
In light of Volkswagen’s recent similar scandal involving their diesel vehicles, automotive regulations are getting a bit tighter as two scandals is two too many. These two separate and very different scandals have arisen during a time when fuel economy and emissions are of the utmost importance. The environmental impact of the cars we drive has become increasingly important to many drivers, and to fudge the numbers regarding said impact is in a word, abhorrent behavior from two major manufacturers. The people who make the rules when it comes to our vehicles have been inspired to sit up and pay closer attention to what is happening.
The question on the minds of most consumers, however, is what, exactly did Mitsubishi do? There is a plethora of news reports, but many of them become so bogged down with automotive jargon, they’re difficult for the layman to understand. The first thing that United States consumers must understand is that the fuel efficiency scandal does not impact any of Mitsubishi’s vehicles that are sold in the U.S.; it affects only the micro cars that are produced and sold in Japan. No matter where the scandal hits home, however, the breaking news of this scandal is of importance on an international level.
As evidence and their admission of guilt suggests, Mitsubishi intentionally falsified testing that claims their vehicles get a better fuel mileage than they actually do. There are four cars in question that have involvement in the scandal. Two of the vehicles are Mitsubishi owned; the eK Wagon and the eK Space, while the others; the Dayz and the Dayz Roox are produced by the car company for Nissan Motors. As of right now, Nissan has made no moves to speak out against Mitsubishi, and also seems to have no intention to abandon any current working relationship the two manufacturers share.
In addition to fudging the records regarding the supposed fuel economy of these four vehicles, Mitsubishi has also admitted that they are guilty of using different equipment than required to test the rolling resistance of these vehicles as well. In order to tinker with the results of the fuel economy testing, the automotive company admits to messing with the tire resistance in order to get better numbers. It was Nissan, who actually discovered the mistake, and questioned the discrepancies in fuel reports. Mitsubishi has since apologized for their mistake and continues to investigate what happened and who was responsible.
This isn’t the first time that Mitsubishi has been in the hot seat in recent years. In the early part of the millennium, they were found to be hiding customer complaints and the safety records for their vehicles. This scandal proved extremely detrimental for the automaker, as has the current scandal. The hubbub surrounding the gas mileage scandal has caused a significant drop in the stock value, and has also called for Mitsubishi to form an investigative committee to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again, somewhere down the line. While Nissan was also, inadvertently, pulled into the scandal, their stock hasn’t witnessed a huge loss, as of right now.
The impact of the scandal has many people worried. Mitsubishi is an independently owned automotive company, meaning they don’t answer to a larger parent company, and their impact in the U.S. market is minimal. A scandal of this size could be extremely harmful to a small automotive company, and even more so to their bottom line should they be heavily fined for their blunder. They face hefty punishment, and it is, as yet, unclear as to whether or not the Japanese manufacturer will recover.