Subaru Japan Probes into Mileage Cheating Allegations

Subaru WRX

Already reeling from a final vehicle inspection scandal and its ill effects to bottom line, Japan's Subaru Corp. said it is now looking into whether inspectors may also have falsified vehicle mileage readings during those illicit final inspections, which were conducted by uncertified quality control inspectors. The announcement drove the automaker's shares down 8.5 percent, the lowest it has been in one-and-a-half years.

Although mileage reading does not fall under any safety requirement, it does indicate a vehicle's fuel efficiency, revealing to the car owner/driver how many kilometers a vehicle can travel on a liter of fuel. The misconduct is the second instance in as many months for Subaru, which further taints the reputation of not only the renowned WRX manufacturer, but also Japan's automotive industry, which has been clobbered by a slew of recent quality control scandals affecting big names such as Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Kobe Steel.

"At the moment we are trying to confirm whether data was indeed fabricated, and if so, how this happened and which models are affected," Subaru spokeswoman Miyuki Yasuda said.

Yasuda added that since falsified mileage data does not constitute a violation of safety requirements, the company is unlikely to recall affected vehicles.

In early November, Subaru admitted that uncertified inspectors had been conducting final checks on new cars sold in the domestic market, a malpractice that lasted for decades. The company immediately announced that it will tighten operations and improve oversight, although at the time, it did not touch on the issue of altered mileage readings.

Last December 20, Subaru revealed that some of the inspectors included in the probe confessed that mileage data had been altered on some of the tested sample models during the final checking process, although the company did not admit to any such fabrications taking place.

As company shares plummeted following the announcement, Subaru became the most heavily traded stock by turnover on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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