Nissan suspends domestic production of cars for the Japanese market

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T is suspending domestic production of vehicles for the Japanese market for at least two weeks to remedy flaws in its final inspection procedures that led to a major recall, he said Thursday.

FILE PHOTO – The logo of Nissan Motor Co. is displayed at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo, Japan on November 2, 2015. REUTERS / Issei Kato / File Photo

The issue has tarnished the Nissan brand in its country, as well as a data tampering scandal at compatriot Kobe Steel Ltd. 5406.T, raised questions about compliance and quality control among Japanese manufacturers.

The country’s second-largest automaker has said it will halt production of domestic market vehicles at its six Japanese assembly plants in order to consolidate their inspection chains to comply with the country’s transport ministry requirements.

Nissan produced around 79,300 passenger and utility vehicles in Japan in August. About 27,600 of them were manufactured for the domestic market, which represents about 6 percent of its global production.

The automaker admitted that uncertified technicians performed final checks for domestic market models because some inspection steps were transferred to other inspection lines, in violation of ministry rules.

Checks by uncertified inspectors continued even after Nissan said it tightened control over its inspection processes when the issue was first revealed late last month.

“Our emergency measures were not enough. We couldn’t change our bad habits, ”CEO Hiroto Saikawa said during a briefing at his headquarters.

He added that it appeared that the focus on increasing the efficiency of the inspection process had contributed to the problem, while poor communication between plant managers and foremen may also have been a problem. postman.

The misconduct has already forced Nissan to recall the 1.2 million new passenger cars sold in Japan over the past three years for re-inspection. The company said on Thursday that around 34,000 more cars would be re-inspected, likely increasing the recall by around 4,000 units.

Japan’s Transportation Ministry said this month that it discovered that uncertified technicians at factories producing Nissan vehicles were using the stamps of certified technicians to sign final vehicle inspections, in violation of ministry guidelines.

Nissan will continue to produce vehicles for export to Japan, including its Rogue SUV crossover and the battery-electric Leaf, as the certification process for final inspections does not apply to vehicles shipped overseas.

At 14:15 GMT, shares in Renault, partner of the Nissan alliance RENA.PA were down 2.3% to 84.36 euros.

While Nissan has said the misconduct has no impact on the quality of its vehicles, it has raised questions about compliance with the rules at its production plants, while highlighting compliance issues among Japanese automakers.

Kobe Steel, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, admitted this month to tampering with specifications for the strength and durability of aluminum, copper and steel products, a fault that can date back more than 10 years.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Mark Potter and David Evans


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