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Latest Japanese scandal affects global automakers

Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota may be affected by Kobe Steel woes

Published: October 20, 2017, 6:15 PM
Updated: October 27, 2017, 6:11 AM

Steel rolls

2017 Toyota Corolla iM

Toyota has confirmed that the recently breaking Kobe Steel record falsification scandal may have an effect on its Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles.

Kobe Steel (a century-old Japanese steel producer with contracts worldwide in various industries) announced at the beginning of October that employees had falsified data on products supplied to over 500 companies, including automakers Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota. Others include Airbus, Boeing, bullet-train operator Central Japan Railway Company, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The scandal involved supplying metals of grades inferior to what the companies required for various metal parts and components, and then falsifying records to show the metals supplied were up to requested requirements. However, Kobe pointed out, the metals were still up to safety and regulatory standards.

Lexus LC 500

Following an internal investigation, Toyota confirmed that Kobe-supplied materials (notably aluminum plates) had been used in the construction of hoods, rear hatches, and front door hinge components on certain Lexus and Toyota vehicles, and also confirmed the plated did satisfy statutory regulatory standards and Toyota’s standard for key safety and durability requirements, which Toyota says surpass industry standards.

A Toyota statement adds that the company will continue and investigation to find out what other non-aluminum materials (such as copper tubes, steel wires and powder, etc.) may be present in its products as a result of Kobe supplying materials to Toyota suppliers.

Kobe said it would cover the costs of all recalls, and admitted it had zero credibility, as its stock prices plummeted.