Kobe Steel falsified aluminium specs for six car makers
Kobe Steel, major player in Japan’s metallurgical industry, has confessed it ’embellished’ systematically for years the specs of the aluminium and copper it delivered to at least six Japanese car manufacturers and several other international companies. This was unveiled by Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei on Tuesday.
The Japanese Ministery of Transport urges the car makers to investigate as soon as possible if this might have implications on safety standards and recalls would be needed. So far all major Japanese car makers like Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi Motors, Subaru and Mazda would have used the aluminium and copper from Kobe Steel.
Doors and bonnets
Nissan says the aluminium is used for doors and bonnets. “We are looking at the impact these false specs might have on safety of pedestrians in case of a collision”, a Nissan spokesperson explained. Honda admits using the same aluminium, but sees no critical problems so far as “all materials are tested internally before production”.
According to Nikkei, vice-president of Kobe Steel Naoto Umehara had admitted at a press conference last weekend that an internal investigation showed that the characteristics of certain products have been falsified, a practice that could go back as far as ten years.
Umehare added this couldn’t be done without the knowledge of the management. This would apply for 19.300 tons of aluminium, 2.200 tons of copper and 19.400 die-cast or forged aluminium profiles shipped between September 2016 and August 2017.
In total some 200 companies would have received the metals from Kobe Steel. Among these names are cited like the MJR test planes and H-2A rockets from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), parts for Boeing airplanes, defense parts fabricated by MHI, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, IHI and Subaru, equipment for Japanese railways or parts for air conditioners from Daikin and Panasonic.
Kobe Steel has, according to Nikkei, already taken measures to limit the financial damage of the scandal and is ready to sell its real estate to compensate for it. Kobe Steel’s shares have plunged with another 19,6% on the Tokyo stock exchange on Wednesday, after falling back with 22% when the news broke on Tuesday.