COM­PA­NIES CHECK KOBE’S STEEL

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

MITSUBISHI Heavy, Toy­ota and Subaru have is­sued me­dia state­ments in re­ac­tion to Kobe Steel’s ad­mis­sion last week that it had sys­tem­at­i­cally cer­ti­fied prod­ucts as safe af­ter they failed qual­ity con­trol tests and sold them to about 500 com­pa­nies.

Bloomberg re­ported in­spec­tion cer­tifi­cates of flat-rolled and ex­truded alu­minium as well as cop­per prod­ucts shipped be­tween Septem­ber last year to Au­gust this year had been is­sued with false safety cer­ti­fi­ca­tion rat­ings.

Com­pa­nies that use the sheets range from Boe­ing to Ford and Toy­ota mo­tor com­pa­nies.

Toy­ota said in re­sponse it had ur­gently in­ves­ti­gated the im­pact on Toy­ota and Lexus ve­hi­cles and the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion iden­ti­fied alu­minum plates pur­chased both di­rectly from Kobe Steel and via other sup­pli­ers were used in cer­tain ve­hi­cles, pri­mar­ily in the con­struc­tion of bon­nets, rear hatches and other com­po­nents of their ve­hi­cles.

Toy­ota also ex­am­ined the data for three years back and ver­i­fied strength and dura­bil­ity of the af­fected alu­minum plates, us­ing the data Kobe pro­vided that was fur­thest out­side of Toy­ota’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

“Based on that anal­y­sis, we con­firmed that the ma­te­ri­als sat­isfy ap­pli­ca­ble statu­tory stan­dards, and our own in­ter­nal stan­dard, for key safety and dura­bil­ity re­quire­ments for ve­hi­cles,” said Toy­ota in a state­ment.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is now work­ing to iden­tify the im­pact of af­fected non-alu­minum ma­te­ri­als on ve­hi­cles. Subaru in Ja­pan also con­firmed the alu­minium panel ma­te­rial meets all the au­tomak­ers’ in­ter­nal safety stan­dards. — WR.

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