Mitsubishi tampered with cars' mileage data as far back as 1991

Mitsubishi Motors, the Japanese car maker that acknowledged last week that it had intentionally lied about its models’ mileage, says an internal investigation has found such tampering dated back to 1991.

The company president Tetsuro Aikawa said on Tuesday the probe was still ongoing, suggesting that more irregularities might be found.

He said so much was unknown that it is uncertain what action the company will take. He said he did not know why employees resorted to such tactics to make mileage look better.

Tokyo’s Mitsubishi Motors had repeatedly promised to come clean after a huge scandal 15 years ago involving a systematic cover-up of car defects.

The inaccurate mileage tests involved 157,000 of its eK wagon and eK Space light passenger cars, and 468,000 Dayz and Dayz Roox vehicles produced for Nissan Motor.

Shares in Mitsubishi Motors crashed again on Tuesday. The Tokyo-listed shares dived 9.58 per cent to close at ¥434. The stock has now plunged about 50 per cent since the first admission on Wednesday, wiping billions off the company’s value. Up to Friday’s close it had already lost US$3.2 billion off its market capitalisation.

At the weekend, the Japanese news agency Nikkei said Mitsubishi Motors plans to compensate customers in a bid to limit the fallout from the scandal.

It is looking to offer to cover the extra fuel costs incurred by vehicle owners because their engines were less efficient than advertised, the Nikkei reported.

The move aims to “appease angry customers’ nonstop inquiries” and prevent an “exodus” of buyers, the Japanese business daily said, without giving its sources.

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