Subaru is in hot water once again after the manufacturer announced it was opening an internal investigation to determine if fuel mileage data was fabricated, reports Reuters. This process, which is part of the final vehicle check, has come under scrutiny as being the company's second instance of misconduct in less than three months.
In late October, both Nissan and Subaru were accused of violating Japanese final vehicle safety inspection procedures. This lead to an investigation by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation (MLIT) in order to assess if the companies were in compliance, and, if found to be operating outside of what is permitted by law, ensure that proper procedure is followed going forward.
Though not related to safety checks, part of the final inspection is to assess a vehicle's fuel mileage. Most recently, Japanese radio broadcaster NHK has made bold claims that the automaker may have altered fuel economy data on its test to match the data provided to the government. This claim is currently being investigated by Subaru, a spokesperson told Financial Times, though no official disclosure of misconduct has been released at the time of writing.
If proven to be true, this claim would prove to be the automaker's second scandal in just under three months when coupled with the failure to comply with final vehicle safety inspections. It is not yet known what the automaker will face if the claim is found to be valid, however rival Mitsubishi faced the same fate when admitting that a number of its employees voluntarily fabricated fuel economy data on more than 600,000 vehicles. As a result, Mitsubishi was slapped with a 485 million yen ($74 million) fine by the Japanese Consumer Affairs Agency.
Stockholders are also not playing ball with the risk of Subaru taking a huge hit amid other scandals in the Japanese auto world, such as the allegations at Kobe Steel, causing Subaru stocks to plummet more than eight percent.
Whether or not Subaru falsified the mileage data is still up to debate, pending investigation. Nevertheless, this is still a serious claim and, as proven by Mitsubishi, is not something taken lightly by Japanese officials. Hopefully, 2018 is less harsh towards the country's auto manufacturing industry.