Oct. 5, 2017—Nissan factories routinely forged inspection documents for new vehicles, reported Japan Today, as a scandal mounted around Japan's second-biggest carmaker that has already been hit with a costly recall.
According to Reuters, Japan’s transport ministry had carried out spot inspections at two plants producing Nissan vehicles as part of a probe into final checks, days after irregularities forced the automaker to recall 1.2 million cars sold in Japan.
The two inspections on Tuesday followed inspections at four more factories last week, the ministry said. The initial four found the automaker had conducted unauthorized final vehicle checks for most domestic models which had not yet been sold, prompting Nissan to suspend new vehicle registrations with the government.
Nissan said Monday it would recall the cars in its home market after it emerged that unqualified staff were performing final checks on vehicles before they were shipped to dealers and consumers. But the Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday that factories issued documents with the names and seals of certified inspectors "to make as if certified staff had carried them out."
A government probe found the Japanese automaker had used uncertified staff to check vehicles at all six of its domestic factories, Kyodo News reported.
"If the fabrication of paperwork did happen, it would mean workers at the factories had intentionally sought to cover up the practice, rather than overlooked regulations on inspectors' qualifications," Kyodo wrote.
Nissan said the transport ministry had carried out inspections at all six of its factories in Japan. However, a spokeswoman declined to comment on the content of the reports, citing an internal investigation that the firm had said could take one month.
On Monday, Nissan president Hiroto Saikawa admitted that junior inspectors were performing tasks they were not certified to do, calling it a "very serious problem."
"They were not one-off, accidental incidents," he said, adding he was not sure how and when the practice started.
The vehicles affected were built between October 2014 and September 2017, the company said.
Saikawa said the company will spend at least a month to investigate what happened and the recall could cost the firm around $222 million.