What just happened to Mitsubishi is proof the automotive industry is fiercer than ever. In a time where car features and quality has increased and fuel economy getting better and better, a car company that does not have the engineering means or financial capacity to keep up with the times must resort to cheating. Mitsubishi just admitted to “improper” testing that may have increased their mileage rating on their microcars by 5 to 10 percent.
Mitsubishi achieved this mileage increase by intentionally over inflating the tires during the test to higher pressures, exceeding the recommended ratings deemed safe for the road. High tire pressures will reduce rolling resistance, thus producing better mileage, however it will increase braking distance and reduce the vehicles ability to grip the road.
The mileage cheat affected more than 600,000 cars sold in the Japanese market since 2013. These are referred to as ‘Kei’ cars which are ultralight vehicles with engines smaller than 0.66 liters. These cars constitute a 40% share of new cars sold in the country.
Mitsubishi’s president, Tetsuro Aikawa, mentioned the discrepancy in mileage was first noticed by Nissan engineers, and that himself along with other Mitsubishi executives were unaware of the tampered test. Shortly after the discovery, Mitsubishi began an internal investigation to seek who ordered the tampering within the chain of command.
The affected number of vehicles may grow, as Mr. Aikawa also admitted the improper testing methods may have been used to verify and validate the mileage ratings of other Mitsubishi cars. We wonder how big this epidemic really is, and whether other car companies have been as unscrupulous as Mitsubishi and Volkswagen.
As car enthusiasts we were truly hoping for the eventual revival of the Mitsubishi Evolution, as the company had released the EVO Final Edition. However, this revelation is one additional nail in the Mitsubishi coffin, and will certainly extinguish any hopes for a return of the all wheel drive beast.
(Source: New York Times)
(Photo credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images & Reuters)