Nissan has just officially announced that they will be suspending vehicle production at their Japanese manufacturing centers following some irregularities found by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation (MLIT).
MLIT had discovered and sent Nissan a notice on September 18 that “in the final vehicle inspection process, certain checks were carried out by technicians not properly registered to perform those duties under Nissan’s own processes”.
The announcement from Nissan also stated that they had taken measures to correct the irregularity by September 20. However, during another investigation by led by a third party, it was further discovered that the final inspection for vehicles bound for the Japanese market at their primary plants at Oppama, Tochigi and Kyushu are still being performed by “technicians not properly registered to perform those duties for vehicles”.
The investigation found that the plants transferred the duty of handling vehicle final inspection to other lines. Employees that were not registered with Nissan performed the duty of final vehicle inspectors.
As a result, Nissan has decided to suspend vehicle production for the Japanese market at all their factories in Japan, until they can correct the issue. The automaker stated that they will reconfigure the final inspection line to conform to the plan they submitted to MLIT and that the final inspection process will be separated and will only have registered inspectors.
The news is a major blow not just to Nissan but the reputation of the Japanese auto industry after a string of issues in the last couple of years. The news also comes just a few days before the opening of the Tokyo Motor Show.
The Takata airbag issue had dealt a shock to the industry after it was found that the metallurgy of the airbag units may or may not cope with the pressures of airbag deployment. There have been injuries and fatalities attributed to the problem.
Last year, certain models produced by Mitsubishi for Nissan specifically for the Japanese market were found to have falsified fuel economy claims. Nissan subsequently bought a majority share in Mitsubishi in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
Just last week Kobe Steel, a major supplier of steel and metal products to the Japanese auto industry, admitted that some of their aluminum products may not conform to the agreed upon specifications; in that instance, the data was falsified.
Nissan says that 34,000 vehicles are affected. All were produced between September 20 up to October 18, 2017.