TOKYO – Automaker General Motors is investigating if its vehicles have been affected by the manipulation of technical data concerning materials supplied by steel manufacturer Kobe Steel, the Japanese new agency Kyodo reported on Thursday.
“We are aware of the data falsification and examining its impact,” the company told Kyodo.
General Motors joins other large automobile companies supplied by Kobe Steel, including Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda.
Kobe Steel – Japan’s third-largest steel manufacturer – admitted on Sunday to having manipulated the inspection certificates of some of its products.
“Data in inspection certificates had been improperly rewritten, etc. and the products were shipped as having met the specifications concerned,” the steel giant said in a statement released on Sunday.
In the last year alone, the company sent over 20,000 tons of such falsely certified materials to over 200 companies, it added.
The company also admitted on Wednesday to manipulating iron powder products – 140 tons of them in 2016 – and materials used in the production of liquid crystal displays and optical disks, which have been supplied to around 70 companies since 2011.
The extent of the scandal could be even greater given that Kobe Steel said in a statement that the external probe being carried out is not yet over.
The manipulation compromises the durability and other technical aspects of materials supplied by Kobe Steel to over 200 companies in the automobile, aeronautical and defense sectors.