Mitsubishi Cheating Fuel Consumption Figures

Mitsubishi has now joined a growing list of car makers including VW, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Ford, Mini and Mazda who have all been caught out cheating emission standards and fuel consumption figures. It’s a reasonable bet that they won’t be the last.

The Japanese manufacturer has put its hand up to falsifying fuel consumption figures for 157,000 of its eK wagons and eK Space light passenger cars, and for 468,000 Dayz and Dayz Roox vehicles it produced for Nissan in a joint venture for the Japanese market. None of the affected cars are sold in Australia.

Nissan discovered the inconsistencies, which Mitsubishi attributed to tyre pressure being falsified to improve the consumption figures. On the face of it, it would seem that Mitsubishi’s employees might have been simply over-inflating the tyres to improve the fuel economy. It’s an old trick much loved by shysters selling dodgy “fuel economy” devices.

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Damage Control

Mitsubishi is now in damage control:

“Taking into account the seriousness of this issue, Mitsubishi Materials Corporation has advised it will also investigate products manufactured for overseas markets", a local spokesperson said.

“This investigation will be conducted by a committee of experts operating independently of Mitsubishi Motors.

“In the meantime, MMAL will continue to monitor the situation closely,” she said.

Mitsubishi’s share price dived by 15 percent on the news. The company already has “form” when it comes to its diesel cars cheating NOx emission tests.

Fleet managers unconcerned

According to the latest Fleetcare Vehicle Managers Survey, half of all Australian fleet managers are unconcerned about such figures.

Asked about their awareness of fuel consumption figures published by manufacturers, 21% of fleet managers said they were ‘Very aware’ of them, 28% were ‘Fairly aware,’ 35% admitted they were ‘Not especially aware,’ and 17% were ‘Not at all aware.’

Probed on how closely they monitor fuel consumption of different vehicles in their fleet, only 21% answered ‘Very closely,’ with a further 34% ‘Fairly closely’ and 27% ‘From time to time.’ 17% of fleet managers never check consumption.

While 87% of fleet managers who monitored fuel figures said that consumption matched manufacturer guidelines ‘Very’ or ‘Fairly’ closely, among those who said there wasn’t a close match, 60% said it was because ‘Consumption figures on the road are very different from laboratory conditions.’

Nigel Malcolm, Chief Executive Officer of Fleetcare says:

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"Fuel economy figures aren't a priority for fleet managers, and it's unlikely that most drivers are bothered by them, especially in these days of cheap fuel. People know there's a big difference between lab testing and on-road reality when it comes to consumption. In terms of broader reputational impact, six months after the VW emissions revelations, their vehicle sales are holding up pretty well. Australians are hard to shock, and a pretty forgiving bunch too."

The Fleetcare Vehicle Managers Survey showed that 35% of respondents had 'no problem buying a VW' vehicle and a further 32% said 'We'd rather buy another manufacturer's vehicle, but it's up to individual employees in the end.' Only 14% of respondents said 'There's no way we'd buy VW or allow staff to buy a VW vehicle'.

This marks a major turn since the Fleetcare Drivers Poll conducted six months ago, in which 60% if drivers stated that the emissions revelations would put them off buying a VW vehicle.

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