Supplier Shipped Substandard Metals Across Japanese Automotive Industry For Almost A Decade


Many drivers are wondering and anxious following an admission by Kobe Steel Ltd., one of Japan's oldest manufacturers, that it falsified data on the strength and durability of aluminum and copper products used in cars, trains, planes and rockets.

Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki and Mitsubishi were also among auto companies potentially affected, as well as Kawasaki and Hitachi in other industrial uses.

General apprehension greeted the news and investors reacted swiftly as shares in Kobe Steel dived by more than a fifth after the company's admission to faking data about the quality of its products.

The scandal, the most recent one of a series of misconducts by Japanese manufacturers, threatens to further damage the reputation of "Made-in-Japan", said local reports.

- Mitsubishi Motors said it is confirming affected models as well as whether there's impact on vehicle safety.

Toyota called the revelations a "grave issue", and said it was making checks on where the components were used and what effect they have on products using them.

Honda said doors and hoods are affected, while Subaru said vehicles and aircraft are affected.

The automotive industry in Japan has been rocked by a metal data falsification scandal.

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About 4 percent of the aluminum and copper products shipped from September 2016 to August 2017 were falsely labelled as meeting the specifications requested by customers, Kobe Steel said.

It said that the products in question have also been used in another rocket scheduled to be launched by March 2018.

Subaru has produced training planes for Japan's Self-Defence Forces and wings for Boeing jets such as the Boeing Dreamliner, according to a spokesman, who said the company was checking which planes and parts used the affected aluminium. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. used some of the metal in question to build regional jets and rockets, but said a successful space launch this week allayed some of its fears.

"Aluminum is a strategic business for Kobe Steel", said Irisawa at Tachibana Securities.

"This is a serious matter that shakes the foundation of fair commercial transactions", Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry metal industries division Director Yasuji Komiyama said. "We urge the company to make efforts to recover the trust of society as a whole, not just its customers".

The falsification was meant to make the metals look as though they met client quality standards.

And this isn't the only scandal that's been coming out of Japan as of late.

Kobe Steel has said the impact of the data falsification on its earnings is still unknown.