After Kobe Steel Co. said Sunday that it had falsified data related to strength and durability of some aluminum and copper products, customers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said they are investigating the impact on safety of their products.
While Kobe Steel said the products were delivered to more than 200 companies, it didn’t disclose their names. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, customers that rank among the top 10 include Shinso Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Alconix Corp. It isn’t clear yet if all of them received materials linked to falsified data.
Here’s what some customers are saying:
- Calling the breach of compliance principles a “grave issue,” Toyota said it’s working to identify which auto models might be affected and what impact there might be on individual vehicles; Kobe Steel materials have been used in hoods, rear doors and peripheral areas, it said
- The materials were supplied to plants in Japan and factories elsewhere weren’t affected, Toyota said, adding it is “considering countermeasures” and steps that need to be put in place going forward
- Nissan Motor Co. said it is rushing to check potential impact on vehicle functionality as the material used in parts such as hoods may affect protection of pedestrians
- Subaru Corp. said “cars and planes including their parts made by Subaru used aluminum made by Kobe Steel that was subject to data falsification” and added it was checking to see if the use of Kobe Steel’s aluminum parts affects safety
- Subaru has produced training planes for Japan Self-Defense Forces and wings for Boeing Co. jets such as the Dreamliner, according to a spokesman, who added the company was checking for which planes and parts Kobe Steel’s falsified-data aluminum was used. “Nothing in our review to date leads us to conclude that this issue presents a safety concern, and we will continue to work diligently with our suppliers to complete our investigation,” Boeing said in a statement separately
- Honda Motor Co. said it used the materials in question for doors and hoods of its cars
- Mazda Motor Corp.: “We use aluminum produced by Kobe Steel, but we are currently in the process of checking which vehicles it’s used in, and how it’s used in those vehicles. We are also currently checking if the aluminum we used was subject to data falsification.
- Suzuki Motor Corp.: “We are checking whether we used aluminum from Kobe Steel, and if so, if it is subject to data falsification.”
- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said it is confirming affected models as well as whether there’s impact on car safety
- Mitsubishi Heavy said Kobe Steel’s aluminum parts were used in its MRJ regional jet that is currently undergoing flight tests and in its H2A rocket launch systems used by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
- The conglomerate said while it is currently investigating the parts in question, it doesn’t see any issues as of now after the successful launch Tuesday of a rocket that used the material in question
- Hitachi Ltd. said the Kobe Steel materials were used in its trains exported to the U.K.
- Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. said many of its products use aluminum and it is currently checking which ones used the material
The Japanese maker of metals and alloys said it discovered the data falsification in inspections it conducted on products shipped from September 2016 through August 2017, adding that there haven’t been any reports of safety issues with products concerned. The affected products account for about 4 percent of its shipments of aluminum and copper parts and aluminum castings and forgings.