Mazda, Suzuki Admit to Emissions and Fuel Economy Test Errors in Japan (Updated)

Nikkei goes on to name motorcycle maker Yamaha as another suspected cheater.

byChris Tsui|
Mazda News photo


According to a Nikkei report, Mazda and Suzuki are the latest Japanese automakers to come forward with evidence of tomfoolery in the arena of emissions and fuel economy testing. 

The Japanese publication said the testing issues were found "on samples of manufactured vehicles selected during the quality assurance process." While Wednesday's report is light on specifics, Nikkei said the country's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will release full details about the latest scandal on Thursday.

Both companies voluntarily turned in reports containing indiscretions to Japan's transport ministry. This came after it mandated all Japanese manufacturers to review internal compliance protocol after Subaru and Nissan were found to have engaged in similar antics. 

Subaru has subsequently stated that none of its affected cars were ever shipped to the U.S. Suzuki, as you probably know, hasn't sold a car in the States since 2012, but continues to do so in its home country.

The report went on to allege motorcycle maker Yamaha as a suspected emissions-reg-cheater. 

Mazda and Suzuki are only the latest in a large, growing list of automakers found to have potentially skirted the law when it comes to efficiency regulations. The auto industry had its watershed moment back in 2015 when Volkswagen was caught employing a defeat device on its TDI diesel engines. That whole saga continues to rage on as Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested just two months ago as part of the investigation.

Update, August 9th, 2018: Mazda has provided The Drive with the following statement regarding the issue:

"Following a request made by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), issued to Japanese automakers on July 9 2018 after the discovery of fraudulent testing practices at other companies, Mazda Motor Corporation submitted a report to MLIT on the results of an investigation into its sample testing of fuel economy and emissions during final vehicle inspections.

The investigation covered JC081 and WLTC2 testing modes and the key findings of the report are:

1. No improper alteration or falsification of test data in either mode.

2. Test data containing speed trace errors* was found in 72 cases out of 1,472 vehicles tested under the JC08 mode.  The company has identified two reasons for these errors. Firstly, the system was not set up to automatically invalidate results when a speed trace error occurred. Secondly, test procedures left the determination of speed trace errors up to each individual inspector.

3. All test data has been re-examined and the results show there was no effect on specification fuel economy and emission figures. No such cases were found in WLTC mode testing.

Mazda has decided to take the following steps to prevent a reoccurrence:

• The system will be updated to automatically treat test results as invalid in the event of a speed trace error.

• Mazda has increased the number of employees who check inspection data, including speed trace errors.

 Mazda accepts that errors were made on a small number of tests and the situation was identified quickly and steps have been put in place to avoid it happening in the future."

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