Kobe Steel Scandal

Update:  The Kobe Steel scandal now expands to 500 customers from the original estimate of 200 including subsidiaries.  The subsidiaries are mainly position in Asia.  Three in China, one each in Thailand and Malaysia and four in Japan.  The company supplies metal components to industries where safety is vital including car, train and aircraft producers.

Original:  For anyone out there driving a Honda, Toyota, Subaru, GM, Nissan and  Kawasaki vehicle, or might be flying on a Boeing airplane. Listen up.

Kobe Steel , a leading Japanese steel producer announced early this week that it had falsified data relating to strength and durability of certain aluminum and copper pieces used in car and plane manufacture.  The dates range from September 2016 through August 2017.  A timeframe that is relatively traceable down to the specific component.  But company representatives said that suspect practices for production could go back a decade.

Toyota indicated that doors, hood and other peripheral components contained the affected metal. But they have yet to compile a definitive list of affected models and their components.

“We are rapidly working to identify which vehicle models might be subject to this situation and what components were used,” said Toyota spokesman Takashi Ogawa. “We recognize that this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue.”

Automakers have indicated they have enough data to trace the Kobe-supplied metal down to specific components. They will evaluate their durability prior to ordering recalls, if any.

Still, automakers such as Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and General Motors all purchase metal products from Kobe Steel.  Beyond the immediate issue of specific parts whose durability figures were falsified. There is also the issue of trust in Japan’s industry. The Kobe Steel scandal follows several high-profile crises in Japan’s auto industry in which data fabrication or efforts to limit the spread of information about faulty products played a role.  On top of that, the recent VW and Mitsubishi emission scandal put a dent in consumer trust for the auto industry overall.

If you drive anyone one of the cars from the above manufactures, please keep an eye on any recalls.