Company provided “fictional” information about fuel economy tests.
Mitsubishi’s fuel-economy scandal has claimed president and chief operating officer Tetsuro Aikawa, who announced his resignation today. Mitsubishi executive vice president Ryugo Nakao is also resigning; both resignations are effective June 24. Both men had been in those positions since June 2014.
The executive departures come in the wake of the revelation that Mitsubishi had cheated on fuel economy tests for 25 years, a problem discovered after the company was accused of misstating efficiency data for certain city cars. The company’s stock price has tumbled since the cheating was revealed, with Mitsubishi saying today that Aikawa and Nakao resigned because the efficiency scandal “has caused tremendous trouble and concern to our customers and all of our stakeholders.”
Mitsubishi revealed today more results from its internal investigation into the wide-ranging efficiency scandal, offering even more evidence of just how much cheating was ingrained into the corporate culture. For starters, rather than using actual measured figures for rolling resistance, engineers calculated fuel consumption using resistance numbers that had been “arbitrarily altered.”
Perhaps the most damning news is that Mitsubishi misled Japanese officials. When the company had to provide legally-required reports on its economy testing, Mitsubishi said today, engineers used “fictional information such as test date, weather, atmospheric pressure, and air temperature.” The cheating affected nearly every model: When testing the Pajero SUV, for instance, engineers used rolling resistance and air resistance data from a completely different car. When testing the RVR (sold in the U.S. as the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport), technicians never measured rolling resistance and instead “calculated it on paper based on improperly altered data.”
Despite these early results from its investigation, Mitsubishi does not directly lay blame with company executives. “No direct instructions to carry out the improper conduct were given by management,” a statement said today. “However the management had an insufficient understanding of the actual operational practices of the product development section.”
Mitsubishi’s investigation of its fuel-economy scandal will continue. A special investigation committee into the matter was started on April 25.
Gallery: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander front grille
|(1)||This project was considered as an important part of the joint venture with Nissan Motors.|
|(2)||One of the project's development goals was to achieve best-in-class fuel consumption in order to compete with other models in the mini-car market, which is highly competitive with respect to fuel consumption.|
|(3)||The Performance Testing Department had long been engaging in setting and achieving fuel consumption targets, which was outside their authority as laid out in MMC's "Detailed Rules of Company Organization". Setting and achieving targets for vehicle specifications, including fuel consumption, was officially supposed to be the responsibility of the Product Development Project.|
|(4)||Furthermore, part of the work of setting and achieving fuel consumption data had been wholly outsourced to Mitsubishi Automotive Engineering Co., Ltd. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMC; the "Subsidiary") via the Performance Testing Department.|
The General Manager of the Performance Testing Department (the "Performance Testing GM") and the other manager in the Performance Testing Department (the "Performance Testing Manager") were aware of the difficulty of achieving the fuel consumption targets, but nevertheless completely outsourced the achievement of those fuel consumption targets to the Subsidiary, and failed to supervise the process unless there were queries or reports from the managers of the Subsidiary. Moreover, they passed on the results reported by the Subsidiary to the Final Design Quality Control Meeting and other meetings without first confirming those results themselves, which it was their duty to do.
The Product Executive (the "PX") and the Development Project Manager (the "Development PM") likewise failed to confirm in detail the running resistance values, and merely accepted the fuel consumption values as reported.
|(2)||The manager of the Subsidiary (the "Subsidiary Manager") believed that if he measured the running resistance in Thailand as initially planned, he would see running resistance values in line with the running resistance values estimated on paper based on past models. The Performance Testing GM and Performance Testing Manager instructed the Subsidiary Manager, before measuring the running resistance in Thailand, to collect a lot of "good" data (i.e., low fuel consumption values) using the legally-required "coasting test". The understanding was that if the values were measured using the proper "coasting test", there was no internal rule at MMC saying that the median values had to be used.|
|(3)||However, the Subsidiary Manager performed the measurements using the "high-speed coasting test", and he was ultimately unable to reproduce the estimated values used so far using the median measured values. The Subsidiary Manager used inappropriately low values from the data to produce running resistance values even lower than those estimated on paper, and presented these data to the Performance Testing Manager. The Performance Testing Manager checked the running resistance data that they received, and was aware that it was measured not using the legally-stipulated "coasting test" but the "high-speed coasting test." The "high-speed coasting test" has a large margin of error and they considered it inappropriate to take the lower values, but there was no time to redo the tests, so they approved the data provided by the Subsidiary Manager. The Subsidiary Manager has no experience in testing using the legally-stipulated "coasting test".|
|(4)||The Subsidiary Manager made a statement to the effect that in order to win against competitors' vehicles and in the context of management's high expectations of improved fuel consumption, that he felt that the Development PM required him to commit to meeting the fuel consumption targets. Also, he felt that the Corporate General Manager of the Development Engineering Office and PX required him to commit to improving fuel consumption at all costs. He further stated that with the limited resources available it was impossible to allocate enough time for proper testing after the test car was sent to them.|
|(5)||We found issues in our administration and process such as that the setting and achieving fuel consumption had been entirely performed within the Performance Testing Department with insufficient outside supervision, and that the risk was not highlighted at any point in our development process, such that we were unable to rectify the problem.|
|(1)||The "high-speed coasting test" was used in measuring the running resistance of all models other than Mirage, Outlander PHEV, and Delica D:5 diesel version.|
|(2)||When MMC prepared test reports required by law, MMC mentioned fictional information such as test date, weather, atmospheric pressure, and air temperature.|
|(3)||MMC did not measure running resistance for the RVR, and instead calculated it on paper based on improperly altered data of other models.|
|(4)||For the Pajero gasoline version, we used data calculated by arbitrarily combining the low running resistance and low air resistance data of a different testing car from past measurement data.|
|(5)||For the Outlander PHEV, Outlander, Delica D:5, RVR, and Pajero, we performed paper calculations based on past test results and the like when we made corrections regarding weight, improved CVT, improved tires, etc.|
|(6)||MMC conducted running resistance measurements using the legally required "coasting-test," and after confirming through internal testing, we found deviation from specification value within ±3%.|
|(1)||The background of MMC's using a "high-speed coasting test"
|(2)||The reason for MMC's using a "high-speed coasting test"
With respect to the reason why MMC adopted, in 1991, a "high-speed coasting test" which differed from the coasting test required by the Road Trucking Vehicle Act, MMC interviewed the persons in charge at the time, including retired employees, but no clear-cut answer was obtained in this regard. However, MMC assumes that the reason why it continued to use a "high-speed coasting test" even though there were several chances to replace it with the coasting test is that previous test result aforementioned 3 (1) (iii) gave only 2.3% at the maximum.
|(1)||[Emission and fuel consumption test]||Running resistance value of cars|
|(2)||[Emission and fuel consumption test]||Emissions correction coefficients for equipment that functions periodically, such as the DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) in diesel cars|
|(3)||[Emission and fuel consumption test]||Emissions correction coefficients pursuant to battery charge level for hybrid cars and the like|
|(4)||[Confirmation of solidness of car frame]||Strength of car frame of trucks and the like|
|(5)||[Brake test]||Simulation results regarding antiskid brake system of variant models|
|(6)||[Brake test]||Location of the center of gravity which is necessary for the confirmation of ABS performance|
|(7)||[Brake test]||Values which are necessary for confirming the performance of electronically controlled brakes|