Nissan neither confirmed or denied the claim.
Nissan’s current production shutdown in Japan could have ties stretching back 20 years, according to a report from Automotive News Europe. Apparently, Japanese public broadcasting organization NHK said that the automaker had engaged in improper final inspection procedures for at least 20 years, though no specific sources were cited to support the accusation. This suggests the issue isn’t simply a momentary lapse in judgement, but a systemic process at the company. Nissan reportedly had no direct comment, choosing to neither confirm nor deny the claim.
This all stems from the recent discovery that the automaker hasn’t been complying with Japanese regulations for final inspections on new vehicles sold in Japan. An internal investigation showed that some manufacturing plants moved vehicle inspections to other lines, which led to uncertified technicians conducting the final checks. Since the inspections are required only for vehicles sold in Japan, all export models are unaffected.
This is quickly becoming something of a scandal for Nissan. All six of its manufacturing plants for local markets are shut down for two weeks while the company reconfigures its final inspection lines to ensure compliance with Japan's transport ministry. According to the Automotive News Europe report, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said it appeared the plants were focusing on increasing efficiency for the inspections, and that poor communication led to the problem. He also said the company’s process for certifying technicians for final inspections hadn’t changed in 20 years, and that the quality of Nissan automobiles was not affected.
In the end, this ordeal will end up costing Nissan a lot of money, not to mention the bad press. The automaker will be recalling and inspecting 1.6 million vehicles that were produced and delivered in Japan over the last three years, a lengthy process which is expected cost $222 million when all is said and done. If it's proven that unauthorized inspections did indeed go on for a longer period of time, that dollar figure could go much higher.
Source: Automotive News Europe