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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 May 18 - 24  > Automakers’ ‘profit-first’ attitude leads to fuel efficiency fraud
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2016 May 18 - 24 TOP3 [ECONOMY]

Automakers’ ‘profit-first’ attitude leads to fuel efficiency fraud

May 23, 2016
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

When consumers decide on which car to buy, they take into consideration its fuel efficiency along with its price and design. It has recently come to light that Mitsubishi Motors faked the fuel efficiency data on almost all models it had produced. The president of Mitsubishi announced his resignation on May 18, but people’s rage has not abated at all. On top of that, it has been revealed that Suzuki Motor also falsified the fuel efficiency data on its mini-vehicles. These major automakers are to blame for their management style giving top priority to making profits.

Vehicles’ fuel efficiency performance is involved in their safety, economical efficiency, and impact on the environment. All carmakers are competing ruthlessly to boost fuel performance. Consumers often pay more than they can really afford in order to buy fuel-efficient cars, because the buyers of those vehicles can receive various preferential treatment such as tax breaks. Mitsubishi and Suzuki’s conduct amounts to deceiving not only buyers but also the whole population of the country.

Mitsubishi states in its report to the Transport Ministry that the management’s “excessive expectations” for improving fuel economy led to the falsification of data. This indicates the automaker’s attitude of putting the highest priority on making money over enhancing the safety and performance of its products.

It is a matter of grave concern that Mitsubishi turned to fraud again even though it had been condemned for its recall cover-ups which brought about a fatal accident in 2002. The company management should not shift the blame for the misconduct onto individual workers or sections in charge. It is essential to bring to light when and who ordered the data fabrication and hold them responsible.

The government has a critical role in preventing corporate fraud. However, the transportation authorities have overlooked the carmakers’ assertions without verifying the submitted data on fuel mileage. The government should fulfill its responsibility to get to the bottom of this problem as well as to root out companies’ fraudulent acts.
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