Tiny Vehicle's Thirst Means a Supersized Headache for Mitsubishi

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
tiny vehicles thirst means a supersized headache for mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Motors has some ‘splaining to do after fuel economy figures for its tiny overseas eK wagon were proven to be false.

The automaker overstated gas mileage by five to 10 percent over the last three model years, Bloomberg reports, allowing the minicars to be classified as greener than they actually were.

Powered by small-displacement three-cylinder engines, the vehicles are called “kei cars” in Japan (no, not K-cars).

Now that the deception has been revealed, Mitsubishi will have to pay back the government subsidies that were offered on the 620,000 vehicles sold under false pretenses, and shareholders are not happy about that.

Mitsubishi’s stock nosedived more than 15 percent when news of the scandal broke — its biggest plunge since the company’s safety scandal of the early 2000s. Reuters reported that company president Tetsuro Aikawa bowed in apology during a press conference in Tokyo.

However, bowing won’t help the finances or reputation of an automaker already struggling to regain its sales status in the U.S. market.

Fuel economy figures of new models will be heavily scrutinized from now on, not just at Mitsubishi, but across the industry. Mitsubishi isn’t the first automaker to try this. Hyundai and Kia had to lower their fuel economy claims and pay out cash to customers after they were caught overstating mileage on 2011-2013 models, while Ford was hauled into court over misleading claims.

[Image: IwateBuddy/ Flickr ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)]

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5 of 8 comments
  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Apr 20, 2016

    They forgot to tell the buyer that you have to disengage the blade to get the full MPG.

  • RHD RHD on Apr 20, 2016

    "Mitsubishi" is Japanese for "Volkswagen".

  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Apr 20, 2016

    I dont give a damn, I still want a kei car. A Honda N-One, or, a more obtainable Honda Z600.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Apr 21, 2016

    I do believe most all emissions and FE testing is a joke. All one has to do is look at the 2.7 EcoBoost F-150. One test by a reputable organisation could only return 15.6mpg and another reputable organisation (Truck Trend) is returning just under 17mpg. Vehicle emissions should be tested at higher power levels under more realistic driving situations. I think you will find most vehicles are designed to pass a particular test rather than provide an overall better level of FE and emissions output. A vehicle should also be tested running at it's maximum GVM, ie, load and tow included.

    • Stuki Stuki on Apr 21, 2016

      The current regime is what you get, when the rules are written by lobbyists for manufacturers, as a sales tool to make gullible customers more likely to buy more. Similar to how ever growing bonuses for Goldman Sachs Executives is what you get, when legislation to "grow the economy" is being written after consultation with, tah-dah, Goldman Sachs executives.... Weird how things work out, ain't it?