In an unfolding scandal thus far limited to Japan, Mitsubishi Motors admitted it has falsified fuel efficiency data back to 1991.
The disclosure today came before a panel of three former prosecutors after last week’s admission it had exaggerated fuel efficiency for 625,000 minicars by as much as 10 percent.
President Tetsuro Aikawa, who said he was personally unaware of the indiscretions, offered a public apology before reporters during a press conference today.
“Customers bought our cars based on incorrect fuel-economy data,” said Aikawa. “I can’t help but apologize.”
Since the news broke, shares of Mitsubishi have plummeted five days straight with market value at this writing around $3.85 billion (427 billion yen).
While authorities in Japan grapple with the situation, the implications for Mitsubishi in other than its home market is unclear.
Already other news outlets are suggesting the company which is struggling in the U.S. could be forced to close up shop.
Comparisons to the VW diesel cheating scandal are also being drawn.
For green car enthusiasts, bad news surrounding Mitsubishi leaves open questions about promised electrified vehicles.
Yesterday in a news conference, the Consumer Federation of America told U.S. reporters it saw Mitsubishi as suspect in the U.S.
To date the U.S. EPA has not said as much. –
An inquiry to an EPA representative today asking whether Mitsubishi is being investigated in the U.S. was not immediately answered, but the official said a reply would be offered soon.
We’ll have more we learn more.