Potentially since 2002
Volkswagen may be the most well-known automaker that’s been caught dodging emissions regulations, but it’s far from the only one. In only the last few years, Fiat Chrysler’s been accused of something similar, BMW and Daimler have been accused of colluding with VW, and Mitsubishi admitted it had falsified fuel economy data. As of today, you can officially add Subaru to that list of embattled automakers, as well.
In a statement released today, Subaru admitted it had manipulated fuel economy and emissions data for more than 900 cars at its Gunma and Yajima factories. An internal investigation ordered by the Japanese government revealed that “certain measurements and data were inappropriately altered, and values differing from those that should have been recorded as actual measurement results were recorded in monthly reports.” Subaru believes the manipulation started around 2002 but says it can’t prove that because it only has data that dates back to 2012.
According to the report, changes were made by factory inspectors. Some lower-level managers likely knew what was going on, but there’s allegedly no evidence that upper-management was aware of the manipulation.
Subaru says employees gave three reasons for falsifying the fuel economy and emissions data. First, it claims senior inspectors ordered junior staff to change the results to make sure internal standards were met. Second, since Subaru measures values over time or for across a large number of vehicles, inspectors adjusted the data to minimize variance. Sometimes, that meant making the results look better than they were, but other times, it meant making them look worse. Finally, while some adjustments are allowed to account for measurement error, a lack of training meant that inspectors didn’t understand how to properly adjust the data.
At least for now, Subaru has no plans to recall the 903 affected vehicles. It says a review of the original data showed that all cars still met internal standards. Still, Subaru says it “sincerely regrets the facts uncovered by the Investigation,” and that it’s “determined to implement measures to prevent recurrence of this problem.” It also plans to “reform outdated aspects of its corporate culture such as authoritarianism, reliance on precedents, and formalism, and to become a genuine ‘upright company.’”