Car Industry

It's going to get much worse for Mitsubishi before it gets better

After uncovering 25 years of fuel-economy malfeasance, this house of cards has only begun to fall.

Lin bin, Lin bin - Imaginechina

It's not unlikely that legal actions are in the works.

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Last week, Mitsubishi admitted to using incorrect fuel-economy testing methods on some of its Japanese models. Apparently, it lied about these testing methods for 25 years, so naturally, nobody's very happy with the company right now. But a bit of small-car jiggery-pokery is only the beginning of Mitsubishi's problems.

In fact, that problem is now seeping into the automaker's US activities, as well. Automotive News reports that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) have asked Mitsubishi to perform additional pre-conditioning tests ahead of any future fuel economy measurements.

Apparently, since at least 1991, Mitsubishi has "deviated" from typical coast-down testing procedures, where a vehicle coasts to a stop from 80 mph to gather data that's used on later fuel-economy tests. Other automakers have been pegged for similar behavior in the past, including Ford.

Meanwhile, Reuters cites two Japanese daily papers, claiming that both the CEO and COO of Mitsubishi have decided to resign. CEO Osamu Masuko allegedly spoke to others in the industry, stating his intent to leave the company.

President and COO Tetsuro Aikawa said much the same, but he's also spoken about just how serious this issue is. "I'm taking this as a case that could affect our company's existence," Aikawa said to reporters Tuesday, as reported by Bloomberg. "My mission is to solve the issue." It won't be a terribly long mission if he ends up resigning, though.

Between executive departures and additional scrutiny from the US (and potentially other governments in the future), matters are only going get worse for Mitsubishi before they get better.

Mitsubishi did not immediately return a request for comment on any of the above.