TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor today said it had used fuel efficiency and emission testing methods that were different from Japanese regulations on 16 models now sold in the country, but that proper testing showed no need to amend the data.
Japan's fourth-largest automaker said the improper testing method dated back to 2010 and that around 2.1 million vehicles were affected.
The discrepancy does not affect any Suzuki-badged vehicles overseas, it said in a statement.
CEO Osamu Suzuki told reporters that his workers did not intentionally use improper data. "The company apologizes for the fact that we did not follow rules set by the country," he said.
The automaker said it plans to continue sales of its cars given that new readings had not deviated much from those previously submitted, adding that it did not see much impact on earnings for now.
Suzuki said it measured data related to components such as tires, brakes and transmissions, and combined those results with air resistance tests in a wind tunnel.
Suzuki specializes in minivehicles, which have engines of up to 660cc and get preferential tax treatment under Japanese law. It commands roughly one-third of the country's minivehicle market, where it trails only Daihatsu.
Fuel economy compliance has come under increased scrutiny since Mitsubishi said last month it overstated the ratings of four minicar models by as much as 10 percent. The automaker has been investigating use of improper testing of other models dating back to 1991.
After Mitsubishi Motors' admission, Japan's transport ministry asked the country's automakers to re-submit fuel economy readings on all their vehicles by today. Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor, Mazda Motor, Daihatsu and Subaru said they found no issues with fuel tests.
Last week, Mitsubishi Motors said it plans to sell a 34 percent controlling stake to Nissan Motor for about $2.2 billion. Mitsubishi is also expected to give further details today on how many of its vehicles were using non-compliant data to calculate its fuel economy readings.
With about $6.9 billion in cash and equivalents, Suzuki’s balance sheet as of March 31 is better positioned to weather a potential scandal compared with Mitsubishi Motors, which reported about $4 billion.
About 22 percent of Suzuki’s 2.86 million worldwide vehicles sales were in Japan during the fiscal year ended in March, as the company has shifted its focus to expanding in India. At about $17 billion, affiliate Maruti Suzuki India has a higher market value than its majority owner. Maruti Suzuki’s shares declined as much as 3.7 percent, the biggest intraday drop in six weeks, as of 11:45 a.m. in Mumbai trading.
Suzuki has built fewer vehicles in Japan for 13 consecutive months and reduced domestic output last fiscal year by 18 percent. In March, the company’s Japan dealers began selling the imported Baleno hatchback, built by Maruti in India’s northern Haryana state.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report