Nissanís Safety Scandal Widens as Cases of Misconduct Discovered at Three More Plants

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The Japan Times

October 20, 2017

Nissan Motor Co. announced late Thursday it has suspended shipping all the vehicles for the domestic market, after it found that improper inspections had also been conducted at three other assembly plants.

This is another blow, coming on the heels of a similar discovery just a day before, further damaging the image of Japanís No. 2 automaker.

Nissan said it discovered unauthorized certification of vehicles at its Tochigi plant, Nissan Kyushu plant in Fukuoka, and Oppama plant in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Uncertified inspectors were suspected to have checked as many as 34,000 vehicles from Sept. 20 through Oct. 18, Nissan said.

ďI am deeply sorry for customers who trusted our preventive measures,Ē Nissanís President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa said at a news conference held at the carmakerís headquarters in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture.

On Sept. 29, Nissan first admitted that uncertified inspection workers checked finished vehicles at all of its six domestic plants, which has widened into a major scandal.

During a news conference on Oct. 2, Saikawa told reporters that the firm introduced measures to prevent any recurrence of the problem and all the vehicles assembled after Sept. 20 had been checked by certified inspectors.

But Nissan admitted Wednesday the improper practice extended to its Shonan plant in Hiratsuka, Kangawa Prefecture, even after Sept. 20. Then on Thursday Nissan again announced that the improper inspection continued at another three plants despite the preventive measures.

Nissan officials said that in some plants, inspections had been conducted on factory lines not intended for final vehicle inspection, which is how uncertified employees ended up performing the final checks.

Nissan said Wednesday unauthorized workers at Shonan plant had continued to be involved in the process to test vehiclesí steering until Oct. 11. They were asked to hold and turn the steering wheels of finished vehicles while certified staff checked the reading of testing equipment.

The safety scandal resulted in a recall of 1.16 million vehicles manufactured from January 2014 to September 2017. The automaker estimates the related costs will approach •25 billion.

Nissan plans to publicize detailed results of its internal probe later this month.

Copyright 2017 The Japan Times Ltd.

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