Cred­i­bil­ity cri­sis for in­dus­try lead­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

as a by­word for in­dus­trial qual­ity and fine crafts­man­ship, Made in Ja­pan and Made in Ger­many are now un­der­go­ing trou­bled times with data-tam­per­ing scan­dals erod­ing their cred­i­bil­ity. South­ern Me­trop­o­lis Daily com­mented on Wed­nes­day:

Kobe Steel is just the lat­est in a string of cor­po­rate scan­dals in­volv­ing data fab­ri­ca­tion to hit Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers. Nis­san Mo­tor Co had to re­call ev­ery new car it sold in Ja­pan over the past three years amid con­cerns over fal­si­fied safety checks, while Suzuki Mo­tor Corp and Mit­subishi Mo­tors Corp have also faced scan­dals re­gard­ing their fuel econ­omy data for their cars.

Like­wise, Ger­man au­tomaker Volk­swa­gen, the world’s largest au­tomaker by sales, ad­mit­ted in 2015 that it used unau­tho­rized soft­ware to cheat the United States’ diesel emis­sion tests, which might have af­fected more than 10 mil­lion ve­hi­cles it sold world­wide. The cred­i­bil­ity cri­sis fac­ing time-hon­ored man­u­fac­tur­ers like Nis­san and Volk­swa­gen seems to have gone be­yond shrink­ing do­mes­tic mar­kets and in­creased global com­pe­ti­tion.

The dom­i­nant role of lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers in the Ger­man and Ja­panese economies may be re­spon­si­ble for their com­pro­mised in­dus­trial stan­dards. Big play­ers con­trib­ute to the bulk of the two coun­tries’ so­cial wel­fare and em­ploy­ment, and are of­ten granted wider

ac­cess to so­cial re­sources, even im­mu­nity for mis­con­duct in some cases. Their re­source­ful lob­by­ists also play a key role in sweep­ing scan­dals un­der the car­pet.

For some in­dus­trial giants, seek­ing and se­cur­ing mo­nop­o­lies is more cost-ef­fec­tive and prof­itable than painstak­ingly pur­su­ing in­no­va­tions. That might ex­plain why some Ger­man and Ja­panese au­tomak­ers were tempted to tam­per with the mod­ern com­pli­ance stan­dards for big­ger gains.

In the US, au­tomaker Gen­eral Mo­tors filed for bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in 2009, which is an­other ex­am­ple of the les­son to be learned by such in­dus­trial giants. Dubbed “Gov­ern­ment Mo­tors”, the Detroit-based auto gi­ant had too many plants, too many work­ers and too many deal­er­ships to be com­fort­able with a dra­matic de­cline in sales when a global fi­nan­cial cri­sis hit the US econ­omy. The scan­dal-mired Ger­man and Ja­panese car­mak­ers must also make a move to be­come leaner and more ef­fi­cient.

The time has come for a change in the in­dus­trial sys­tems of man­u­fac­tur­ing pi­o­neers, whose once-vaulted global dom­i­nance is fac­ing a mo­ment of truth.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.