Scandal leaves Kobe Steel with ‘zero credibility’
The chief executive of Kobe Steel said yesterday that a deepening scandal over false inspections data may have spread beyond Japan and conceded his company now had “zero credibility”.
US carmaker General Motors is the latest manufacturer to check whether its vehicles contain falsely certified parts or components sourced from Japan’s thirdbiggest steelmaker.
“General Motors is aware of the reports of material deviation in Kobe Steel copper and aluminium products,” said a spokesman. “We are investigating any potential impact and do not have any additional comments at this time.”
Kobe Steel’s chief executive, Hiroya Kawasaki, apologised yesterday and promised his firm would report to the trade ministry on the results of urgent safety inspections within a fortnight. He also said the cause of the falsified data would be explained within a month.
“The credibility of Kobe Steel has plunged to zero. We will make efforts to regain trust as soon as possible,” he said.
The scandal has forced some of Japan’s best-known manufacturers to confirm the safety of products sourced from the company. Toyota and Nissan are among about 200 affected companies, and Hitachi said it had used Kobe Steel parts in trains built for the UK market.
“Products used met safety standards, but they did not meet the specifications that were agreed between us and Kobe Steel,” a Hitachi spokesman said.