Mitsubishi stock crashes as fuel-cheating scandal widens

People are seen at the Mitsubishi Motors booth during the Auto China 2016 auto show in Beijing April 25, 2016. Picture credits: Reuters
People are seen at the Mitsubishi Motors booth during the Auto China 2016 auto show in Beijing April 25, 2016. Picture credits: Reuters

Shares in Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors crashed again Tuesday after a report said it had been using an improper fuel-efficiency testing method for decades, widening a data-cheating scandal that has plunged the company into crisis.

The maker of the Outlander sport utility vehicle and Lancer cars had been supplying false results on more models than previously reported, the leading Nikkei business daily said.

In response, the Tokyo-listed shares dived 9.58% to close at ¥434.

The firm’s stock price has halved and billions of dollars have been wiped off its market valuation since it admitted Wednesday to falsifying efficiency data for hundreds of thousands of vehicles sold in Japan.

Authorities raided the company’s office last week after its admission and the firm has warned that the number of vehicles involved could rise as it could be widened to include those sold overseas.

A spokesman declined to the comment on the latest report and it will hold a news briefing later Tuesday. The scandal comes a decade after the automaker was pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy after it was found to have covered up a series of vehicle defects.

The Nikkei report said Mitsubishi’s inaccurate testing could stretch back to the 1990s — rather than just 2002 as the company has said — and affect more models.

On Saturday, the Nikkei said Mitsubishi plans to compensate customers in a bid to limit the fallout.

Japan’s transport ministry has ordered the company to reveal the results of an internal investigation on Wednesday.

The embarrassing revelations have raised questions about the Japanese carmaker’s future, and pointed to a broader problem in the global car industry as regulators probe other automakers’ pollution and fuel-efficiency standards.

Embattled German carmaker Volkswagen said Friday the massive engine-rigging scandal it is currently engulfed in pushed it into its first annual loss in more than 20 years, and the final total costs are still not calculable.

Also Friday, Germany’s transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said a probe sparked by Volkswagen’s emissions-rigging scandal found irregularities at 16 car brands, including Mercedes, France’s Renault, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Jaguar, and Nissan.

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