Nissan Suspends Production of its Cars for Japan

After failing to rectify inspection misconduct, Nissan is suspending production for all Japanese domestic vehicles.

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After failing to address repeated problems with its vehicle certification process, Nissan has officially announced that it will suspend production of all domestic vehicles sold in the Japanese market. This comes only weeks after Nissan issued a recall for all vehicles sold in the market over the past three years.

The recurring problem revolves around the continued final inspection and certification of vehicles being performed by individuals who are not authorized by Nissan to complete these final checks. It goes deeper than just the wrong person signing off, as the technicians were reportedly impersonating certified technicians by using their stamps to sign off of the inspections, according to Reuters

A meeting in September with the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport revealed that these checks were not in compliance with the regulatory requirements set forth by the Japanese government, which resulted in the automaker issuing a voluntary recall of 1.21 million vehicles.

On Sept. 29, Nissan reported that it had once again become compliant with the checks after internally restructuring and would be performing an investigation with the help of a third-party company to investigate just what went wrong and how long the process was not in compliance. When the inspection concluded on Wednesday, it became apparent that three Nissan plants were still out of compliance, prompting a complete stoppage of vehicle production.

"This is not a quality or safety issue. Production-line processes and checks were conducted properly," said a Nissan spokesperson to The Drive, "All inspections were actually conducted (no “missed checks”), and were conducted by inspection staff."

With the news that the MITL compliance checks are still unresolved make for the second bit of scandalous news surrounding the Japanese auto industry in a week. Kobe Steel, one of the largest suppliers for metal used in automobiles, was recently caught lying about its product strength by regulators.

The purpose of Nissan's production suspension is for the manufacturer to take a step back and reconfigure its inspection lines and procedures so that its compliance aligns with the requirements set forth with the inspection process required. It was also announced that an additional 34,000 vehicles were manufactured since the fault was believed to be rectified previously, subjecting those vehicles to the recall and re-inspection process.

Not to worry about cars not destined for the Japanese domestic market, as the world will continue to get their ample supplies of Nissan's Rogue crossover and its electric car, the Leaf. Vehicles sent for export outside of Japan are not affected by the production stoppage, nor are they required to undergo the same MITL-regulated checks.