Vehicle inspectors find significant irregularities in Nissan Motors’ 6 auto plants across Japan

This is the reason why the automaker was forced to recall 1.2 million cars in Japan.

On Wednesday, Japan’s transport ministry stated it had carried out spot inspections at two of Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s plants which produce vehicles.

The development assumes significance in the wake of irregularities which forced the automaker to recall 1.2 million cars in Japan.

The new inspections followed an earlier round of four inspections which took place earlier last week, said the ministry.

During the initial inspection, it was found that the Nissan had conducted unauthorized final vehicle checks for most domestic models which had not yet been sold. This had prompted Nissan to suspend new vehicle registrations with the government.

This is the second major instance of misconduct involving a Japanese automaker in under two years after following Mitsubishi Motors’ admission that it had tampered with fuel economy tests for a few domestic-market models.

While Nissan’s recall is unlikely to significantly dent its profitability, it will however erode its reputation as it enjoys strong domestic goodwill, said analysts.

According to sources familiar with the matter at hand, while inspecting Nissan’s factories, inspectors from Japan’s ministry of transportation found names of certified technicians being used on documents to sign-off final vehicle checks which were conducted by non-certified technicians.

This raised the possibility that the practice is likely to be across all of Nissan’s six vehicle manufacturing plans, said sources on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak with media on this matter.

All vehicles sold in Japan must be registered with the government. As part of this process, during final checks, all vehicles must undergo an additional procedure performed by plant technicians who can be certified by the automakers.

Nissan has confirmed the latest two ministry inspections were at its Tochigi plant and at the Auto Works Kyoto plant owned by an affiliate.

“We are currently conducting an investigation into the nature of this vehicle inspection issue at our plants,” said Nick Maxfield, Nissan’s spokesman said in an emailed statement.

A third-party is also involved in its probe.

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