SUZUKI is the latest car manufacturer to admit it incorrectly tested vehicles to make their fuel economy figures appear better than they actually are.
The Japanese company says it conducted rolling resistance testing on 2.1 million vehicles that focused on individual components “such as tyres, brakes and transmission” rather than complete vehicles. This testing was carried out inside a special facility because its proving ground in Sagara is located “on top of a hill close to sea, where it is significantly affected by weather conditions such as the influence of wind.”
Suzuki denies intentionally deceiving the public and Japanese authorities, instead saying it used the improper method because carrying out tests in accordance with Japanese protocol was “difficult” and produced inconsistent results.
Suzuki’s CEO Osamu Suzuki told reporters at a news conference in Tokyo, "The company apologizes for the fact that we did not follow rules set by the country."
15 cars were retested in proper fashion by Suzuki after the discrepancy was uncovered. It said the correct numbers were not greatly different from those originally recorded, claiming them to be “within the range of measurement deviation.”
Suzuki has said it will not be removing any vehicles from sale and won’t update consumption figures for cars sold within the Japanese domestic market. It also doesn’t expect the findings to have an impact on sales forecasts.
However, Japanese authorities have described the use of unsanctioned testing as “outrageous” and requested additional information from Suzuki about the breach before the end of the month.
The cheating was uncovered after Japan’s transport authority ordered the industry to resubmit fuel efficiency data. The demand came in reaction to Mitsubishi’s admission last month that it fraudulently tested the fuel economy of four vehicles.
Other Japanese manufacturers Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Daihatsu and Subaru have all said that their existing numbers are clean.
Suzuki is Japan’s fourth largest automaker behind Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Up to 15 percent was wiped from the company’s share value in the day after the announcement, later stabilising at nine percent down.