Tokyo – In a recent statement, Nissan Motor Co Ltd (NSANY) informed about some discovered discrepancies in data of mini cars manufactured by Mitsubishi Corp (MSBHY). In response, Mitsubishi admitted that the data was intentionally manipulated by its employees in its fuel economy testing process for certification, according to Nissan.

Bloomberg reported that after the revelations, the company shares fell 15 percent in Tokyo, which represents the biggest decline in Mitsubishi stock in over a decade.

Tetsuro Aikawa vows as he leaves the press conference in which Mitsubishi admitted it had been manipulating fuel mileage data of its mini cars. Credit: Auto News

On Wednesday, the Japanese automaker apologized to its customers because several vehicle models were sold with a fake fuel mileage data. Mitsubishi admitted that they sold about 625,000 minicar models with inflated fuel efficiency rates in Japan. It’s still unclear how much the data were altered.

The fake tests by the Japanese automaker involved 157,000 of its own-brand eK wagon and eK Space light passenger cars, and 468,000 Dayz and Dayz Roox vehicles produced for Nissan.

According to Bloomberg’s report, Mitsubishi inflated its rates by 5 to 10 percent due the inaccurate tests. Mitsubishi conducted an internal probe that revealed that, in order to make mileage look better, the data of tire pressure was manipulated. Minicars, which are produced since early 2013, are known in the market for having great mileage.

Mitsubishi promised to investigate the case and take measures to ensure it won’t happen again

The company is planning to start an investigation to verify whether data was falsified for vehicles sold overseas. Mitsubishi is also setting up a panel of outsiders to investigate the controversy. Aikawa promised not only to investigate the case but also take measures to prevent a recurrence.

“The wrongdoing was intentional. It is clear the falsification was done to make the mileage look better. But why they would resort to fraud to do this is still unclear,” company president, Tetsuro Aikawa, said to reporters.

Aikawa claimed that even when he was unaware the irregularities were happening, he feels responsible for the troubles caused. Other company executives bowed in apology as well.

“We will inform our customers. I feel horrible they were given the wrong numbers,” said Aikawa.

After consulting Japan’s transport ministry, Nissan ordered dealers to stop selling the affected vehicles, and it’s looking for ways to help owners of the cars that have been already sold.

Mitsubishi Motors, which also makes the Outlander sport-utility vehicle and the i-MiEV electric car, has been struggling for years to gain back consumer trust after an auto defects scandal in the early 2000s over cover-ups of problems that included failing brakes, faulty clutches and fuel tanks prone to falling off dating back to the 1970s. This new scandal may be a highlight of how the company has not come completely clean as it promises it would after the cover-ups scandal.

Source: CBS News