Subaru Admits To Manipulating Emissions Data

Industry News

Ye another automaker admits to data manipulation.

A government ordered investigation has revealed that employees within Subaru have deliberately been altering fuel economy and emissions data during final vehicle inspections. The investigation was ordered by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism after it noticed nonconforming vehicle inspections coming from Subaru’s Gunma and Yajima manufacturing plants last year. An internal investigation led by Subaru has sussed out the issue, and it's not pretty.

According to the automaker: “In sampling fuel economy and emissions data as part of the final vehicle inspections at the Gunma Manufacturing Division’s Main Plant and Yajima Plant, certain measurements and data were inappropriately altered, and values differing from those that should have been recorded as actual measurement results were recorded in monthly reports.” Subaru presumes that there were three key motivations for altering the data. Senior inspectors ordered other inspectors to adjust fuel economy and emission figures for sample vehicles that did not meet the corporation’s average standards.

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However, in order to reduce the variance in sampling, even vehicles that did meet internal quality control standards were subject to alterations - meaning results were made to look better and worse than what they actually were. A third possible reason for the manipulation might have been inadequate training and deficient internal rules. In certain cases, the measurement values can legally be altered to account for errors in measurement equipment and some inspectors might have misunderstood how to do this. Subaru believes the issue only affected 903 vehicles, which were built between December 2012 and November 2017.

Even worse for Subaru is that data up to November 2012 couldn’t be located, which obviously meant it couldn’t be checked for manipulation. The company said that based on employee statements, “there is a high probability that such manipulation of fuel economy and emissions data commenced around 2002.” Subaru says they profoundly regret what happened and issued its “deepest apologies for the significant trouble and inconvenience caused to our customers, partners, and all other stakeholders.”

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