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Mitsubishi offices raided after CEO admits deception

Staff writer |
Mitsubishi's offices at its Okazaki, Japan, research facility near its Nagoya manufacturing plant were raided by Transport Ministry investigators searching for documentation about the four models of mini-cars.

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Two models are sold in Japan under the Nissan nameplate and two by Mitsubishi. The controversy affects 486,000 Nissan-badged Dayz models, and 157,000 eK model vehicles with an identical body design sold under the Mitsubishi brand, UPI reports.

Mitsubishi published the cars' fuel economy at 60 to 70 miles per gallon, but as Nissan took over the vehicle's development, its engineers noticed the claim was dubious and confronted Mitsubishi about it, said Tetsuro Aikawa, Mitsubishi's president, at today's public apology press event.

The microcars have tiny 600 cc engines – smaller than some motorcycles – but are popular in Japan. They fall into a special auto class, known as "kei," which are exempt from some taxes imposed on larger vehicles.

Aikawa said Mitsubishi will pay a settlement to Nissan. The company is conducting an internal investigation to determine who ordered the deception. Aikawa said he was unaware of it until Nissan brought it up.

The Japanese government called the situation "extremely serious," noting Mitsubishi violated the trust of its customers.

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