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Automakers Checking Safety of Cars After Metals Scandal

Toyota, Nissan are performing inspections

Toyota, Nissan are performing inspections

Kobe Steel, a supplier for automakers including Toyota and Nissan, recently admitted to falsifying data related to the durability of some of its metal products. Now, in light of the incident, automakers are scrambling to check the safety of their cars.

As reported by Automotive News, Kobe Steel staff falsely labeled some aluminum and copper products to appear that they met desired specifications. The company said it learned of the problem during inspections on products sent out between September 2016 and August 2017. An estimated 4 percent of aluminum and copper shipments were affected by data falsification.

The products in question were sent out to more than 200 companies, Kobe Steel says. Calling the incident “a grave issue,” Toyota said Kobe Steel products have been incorporated into its hoods, rear doors, and other areas of its vehicles. Honda says it used Kobe Steel materials for doors and hoods. Nissan, Mazda, and other Japanese automakers are also investigating the safety of their cars in light of the false labeling.

Kobe Steel is Japan’s third biggest steelmaker and is turning its attention to aluminum as fuel economy rules become stricter. The data fudging problem isn’t limited to one plant; an executive admitted that the company falsified data at all of its four local aluminum plants. Not only does the issue have potential consequences for the safety of cars, but it may also affect certain aircraft and spacecraft that used Kobe materials.

As Bloomberg points out, the scandal could further erode public confidence in Japanese manufacturing. It’s impossible to forget the massive Takata airbag recall that still has the industry reeling today, and Nissan recently called back more than 1 million cars in Japan because they didn’t meet Japanese market requirements for final inspections.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required), Bloomberg