Toyota, Mitsubishi scramble to check parts after steel scandal

On Tuesday, Mitsubishi Heavy said that Kobe Steel products with falsified data were used in an H-2A rocket that was successfully launched the same day to send into orbit the Michibiki No. 4 satellite for the Japanese version of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Kobe Steel Ltd unleashed an industrial scandal that reverberated across Asia's second-largest economy after saying its staff falsified data related to strength and durability of some aluminium and copper products used in aircraft, cars and maybe even a space rocket.

Nissan Motor Co., Subaru Corp., Mazda Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have said they had been using the affected aluminum products in passenger cars.

Hitachi said the Kobe Steel materials were used in its trains exported to the United Kingdom.

An internal probe has revealed that data were fabricated for about 19,300 tons of aluminium products, 2,200 tons of copper products and 19,400 units of aluminium castings and forgings shipped to clients between September 2016 through August 2017.

According to Kobe Steel, the falsification was carried out at four Japanese factories. Leading Japanese automakers announced today that they have difficulty assessing the safety of cars manufactured with Kobe Steel products, the France press reported.

Katsukawa comments, "We can't rule out the possibility that the external investigation will find other cases", adding that customers have not filed complaints or raised any safety concerns, nor has sales slowed.

Subaru has produced training planes for Japan Self-Defense Forces and wings for Boeing jets such as the Boeing Dreamliner, according to a spokesman, who added the company was checking which planes and parts used affected aluminium.

In the auto industry, Nissan Motor Co. has newly said that falsely certified Kobe Steel products were used for hoods and doors of some of its vehicles.

Matsumoto goes on to say, "Aluminum is one of Kobe Steel's key focus areas in the medium term as part of its strategy to help lighten vehicles, (and) this will certainly have a negative impact on the expansion".

Vanessa Coleman

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