Japanese Automotive Steel Maker Caught Lying About the Strength of Its Parts

All of the major Japanese automakers, in addition to GM and Ford, may be affected.

Earlier this week controversy arose from Japan as steel supplier, Kobe Steel, was caught “falsifying data about the strength and durability of some aluminum and copper products,” reports Bloomberg. Not surprisingly, this has reportedly affected a large portion of automakers hailing from Japan as well as a couple of domestic brands that happen to use Kobe as a supplier.

Among Kobe Steel’s client list are Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Mazda, GM, and Ford. In other words, a majority of the cars roaming the streets today. Toyota states that misrepresented Kobe products have been used in car hoods, doors, and “peripheral areas.” 

“We are rapidly working to identify which vehicle models might be subject to this situation and what components were used. We recognize that this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue,” said Toyota spokesman, Takashi Ogawa.

Meanwhile, Honda says that falsified metals have been used in its doors and hoods as well. Mazda has confirmed its use of Kobe aluminum but didn’t specify where. Outside of the automotive industry, bogus Kobe products were reportedly found in planes, trains, and potentially a space rocket.

Dating back over a hundred years, Kobe Steel is Japan’s third-largest steelmaker. According to a company spokesperson, the misrepresentation of quality figures was found to be systematic, present in all four of the company’s plants, and started occurring as early as 10 years ago.

The exact impact of the steelmaker’s indiscretions are still unclear, but Japanese securities analysts predict possible recalls, not unlike the faulty airbag situation with Takata. Takata filed for bankruptcy in June.