Earlier this year, Mitsubishi admitted to cheating on fuel economy tests in Japan. Now, the Japanese government is ordering the carmaker to stop sales of additional models because of overstated fuel economy.
Japan’s transport ministry ordered Mitsubishi to stop selling eight models after an investigation showed that they returned lower fuel economy than advertised, reports Automotive News (subscription required). Investigators found that fuel economy on these models averaged 4.2 percent lower than what Mitsubishi told consumers, and as much as 8.8 percent lower in some cases.
The affected models include versions of the Pajero, Outlander, and RVR (sold as the Outlander Sport in the U.S.) SUVs. That’s in addition to the four models Mitsubishi admitted to overstating fuel economy on when news of the scandal broke back in April. That group included some cars manufactured by Mitsubishi for sale by Nissan, which purchased a controlling interest in the embattled carmaker in the wake of the scandal.
While the first four models were all small “kei” cars sold only in Japan, this latest batch includes models that are sold in the U.S. The sales halt only applies to cars sold in Japan, though, and U.S. regulators have yet to find any issues with Mitsubishi’s reporting of fuel economy on models sold here.
Mitsubishi has said it used different testing procedures than the ones spelled out in government regulations as far back as 1991. These unapproved testing practices produced higher fuel-economy figures than the ones Mitsubishi was supposed to use. An internal investigation attributed the decision to cheat to pressure on resource-starved engineers to produce good results, lack of communication, and other issues.
As with Volkswagen and its diesel cars, Mitsubishi is expected to compensate Japanese owners for fuel-economy overstatements. That is expected to put significant financial pressure on the carmaker, which has already seen sales tank in the wake of the scandal. Mitsubishi expects to post a net loss of $1.4 billion this year, pushing it into the red for the first time in eight years.
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