Mitsubishi Admits to Cheating on Fuel Tests Since 1991—Investigation Is Ongoing, Says President Tetsuro Aikawa

By Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
Denisse Moreno
April 26, 2016 Updated: April 26, 2016

Japanese automaker Mitsubishi admitted last week it has intentionally lied about fuel economy data for some of its models since 1991.

President Tetsuro Aikawa said on April 26 the probe was ongoing, hinting that more abnormalities may surface.

“We don’t know the whole picture and we are in the process of trying to determine that,” he said at a news conference at the transport ministry, according to AP.

“I feel a great responsibility,” he added.

Since so much is still unknown, it is uncertain what the company will do next, said Aikawa. He also said he did not know why workers resorted to lying about mileage.

Mitsubishi has continuously promised to act with transparency, especially after a scandal 15 years ago involving a systematic cover-up of auto defects.

An employee walks past a Mitsubishi Motors vehicles displayed at the company's headquarters on April 20, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. Mitsubishi Motors share plunged more than 15% after the Japanese car maker announced it has mishandled the fuel economy test data. (Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)
An employee walks past a Mitsubishi Motors vehicles displayed at the company’s headquarters on April 20, 2016, in Tokyo, Japan. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

The rigged mileage tests revealed last week involved 157,000 of its eK wagon and eK Space light passenger cars, and 468,000 Dayz and Dayz Roox vehicles produced for car manufacturer Nissan. The models are all “minicars” produced in March 2013 with small engines, which are preferred for their great mileage.

The auto issue came to light after Nissan pointed out irregularities in data. The car maker found Mitsubishi’s mileage goal for the minicars that had been set in 2011 was abruptly raised in 2013. Officials said it is unclear what occurred.

Meanwhile, Aikawa said it is still unknown how customers were going to get compensated because the cheating was still being investigated.

Mileage fraud is against Japan’s fuel efficiency laws for car, since customers are eligible for tax breaks if an auto model delivers good mileage. The transport ministry said possible penalties are unclear because the incident is still under investigation.

The automaker has set up a panel of three lawyers to investigate the matter, and expect a report in 3 months.

The production and sales of all models involved in the scandal have been ceased.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.