Germany conducts raids over suspected Mitsubishi diesel emission fraud

Ruben Fields
January 23, 2020

"Mitsubishi Motors will of course collaborate and contribute to this investigation", the carmaker said.

The investigations mainly centre on the use of illegal "defeat device" software created to make vehicles pass emissions tests in a lab environment only to emit many times more than the legislated amount in real-world driving.

In 2016 Mitsubishi Motors copped a ¥50 billion ($A664m) hit to its bottom line in Japan for falsifying fuel consumption figures dating back to the early 1990s on a number of Japanese domestic market "kei" micro-cars sold under the Mitsubishi and Nissan brands.

Authorities are looking at Mitsubishi's 1.6-litre and 2.2-litre 4-cylinder Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel engines, asking drivers who acquired cars with the motors since 2014 to contact police.

A spokesperson for Mitsubishi Motors in Japan on Wednesday (22 January) confirmed the raid on its German distributors as well as on its European research and development facilities - also based in the country.

A spokesman for German auto supplier Continental confirmed that three of its locations had been searched as part of the probe. Tetsuji Inoue, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based automaker, said the company is still gathering information while cooperating with authorities.

Police and prosecutors on January 21 have been raiding 10 sites across Germany, Nadja Niesen, spokeswoman for Frankfurt prosecutors said in an emailed statement. "We will cooperate with the investigation", he added. In these circumstances the software would ensure the vehicle's emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) gases were within legal limits.

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Some observers suggests that among automobile shares, investors are selecting companies with a strong lineup of electric and other next-generation models, making it hard for Mitsubishi Motors to secure mid- and long-term capital.

They also raided a facility of a German auto parts supplier, according to the reports.

In future, Mitsubishi is expected to leverage its strength in plug-in hybrid technology within its alliance with Renault and Nissan.

Ghosn made global headlines last month after he jumped bail and fled to Lebanon - apparently by hiding in a large case for audio equipment on a private jet.

Bosch, accused of supplying key components of Volkswagen's defeat devices, has also paid hundreds of millions of euros in fines at home and the United States but denies any wrongdoing.

Similar fraudulent devices found in Volkswagen cars in 2015 led to massive fines for the German automaker.

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