It's bad, but not VW bad.
Back in 2000, several defects were found in certain Mitsubishi models. The resulting investigation revealed that the Japanese automaker covered them up. How bad was the cover up? Dating back to 1977, Mitsubishi failed to admit about problems regarding failing brakes, malfunctioning clutches and – holy crap! – fuel leaks. It finally admitted to wrongdoing in 2004. Oh, and the company president resigned and was later arrested for his role in the cover up. Knowing all of this, you’d think Mitsubishi learned its lesson. Apparently not.
Bloomberg is reporting that Mitsubishi is now admitting to "manipulating test data involving 625,000 of its vehicles in order to improve fuel economy claims." Oh, it gets worse. Turns out some of those vehicles were supplied to Nissan as part of a previous deal between the two automakers. How did Mitsubishi manipulate its data? Something as complex as Volkswagen’s diesel cheat code? Nope. Mitsubishi is suspected of messing with the load placed on the tires of four different (and so far unnamed) models, which resulted in fuel economy appearing to be better than it really was. Think of it as analog as opposed to digital cheating.
Mitsubishi will be updating the media (not to mention the markets) shortly, but the fallout has just begun, as its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange have already dropped. This is not good news for an automaker that was already struggling to be relevant, most notably in the US.