Kobe plunges on metals products scandal


Kobe Steel's probe has so far found that data were fabricated for about 19,300 tonnes of aluminium products, 2,200 tonnes of copper products and 19,400 units of aluminium castings and forgings that were shipped to clients between September 2016 through August 2017.

Shares in Kobe Steel plunged 22% today after the Japanese metals firm admitted to falsifying product data.

The company said the fabrications, which might have started a decade ago, could affect products sent to as many as 200 companies.

The false data supplied to automakers was meant to make metals look like they met clients' quality standards.

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According to executive vice president, Naoto Umehara the falsification had happened at all four of Kobe Steel's local aluminum plants.

Toyota said it had found Kobe Steel materials, for which the supplier falsified data, in bonnets, doors and peripheral areas.

Here's a taster. Toyota is "rapidly working to identify which vehicle models might be subject to this situation and what components were used", according to spokesman Takashi Ogawa. "We recognize that this breach of compliance principles on the part of a supplier is a grave issue".

Doors and hoods are also affected at Nissan, a spokesman confirmed.

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Faced with the latest in a series of missteps that have undermined Japan's reputation for high-quality production, the industry ministry instructed Kobe Steel to assess the safety impact from the scandal. If the scandal leads to recalls, the cost would be huge, he added.

Kobe Steel's stock fell by the maximum 22 percent on the first day of trading after the company's October 8 admission. Nissan, Mazda and Honda confirmed they used aluminium produced by Kobe Steel and were now investigating the matter and carrying out safety checks.

MHI said Kobe Steel products were used on its Mitsubishi Regional Jet and rockets, including a H-2A rocket launched on Tuesday to put a navigation satellite into orbit. Kobe Steel said it had no evidence of any safety concerns as a result of the fraudulent certification. "If the aluminium business doesn't work out well, I question where the company can make money", given that profitability at the mainstay steel business remained low, he said.

In other product-related cases, Takata pleaded guilty in the U.S.in February to one count of wire fraud for misleading automakers about the safety of its air bags.

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Toyo Tire & Rubber officials were referred to prosecutors in March following the company's 2015 admission that it had falsified data on rubber for earthquake-proofing buildings.