Subaru said in a report to the government on Friday that mileage and emissions data for nearly 1,000 new cars were manipulated at one of its plants and that the wrongdoing may have started around 2002.
The report was submitted by Subaru President Yasuyuki Yoshinaga to Tetsuya Okuda, Director of the transport ministry’s Road Transport Bureau.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart for causing so much concern and trouble,” Yoshinaga told a news conference after the report was submitted.
Yoshinaga vowed to enforce preventive measures. “This is a serious compliance issue. I deeply regret (what happened.)”
In the report to the ministry, Subaru said it examined available fuel economy test data from December 2012 to November 2017 and found 903 instances of data manipulation. The company also said employee interviews led the company to believe the practice went back further but it could not support this.
The data-rigging was conducted during final testing of new cars at Subaru’s Ota plant in Gunma Prefecture, on the orders of the head of the inspection staff, the carmaker said. The misconduct was continued by later employees.
Friday’s report cited inadequate communication and a lack of respect for norms, as well as insufficient internal rules. The carmaker plans to create a manual for the inspection process and step up oversight to prevent a recurrence.
Subaru said it did not believe a recall was necessary since its emissions standards are stricter than the relevant national rules. Exports to North America are not affected since the tests are conducted differently. The company is still examining whether exports to other locations might be affected by the data manipulation.
The revelation is yet another blow to the carmaker, which admitted late last year that they allowed uncertified workers to carry out inspections on its vehicles, initiating a massive domestic recall.