The Japanese automotive industry is reeling after Kobe Steel admitted that they falsified the strength and durability reports for aluminum and copper products used in consumer cars. Toyota, Nissan, and Honda are investigating whether products have impacted the safety of their vehicles.
Kobe Steel is Japan’s third-largest steel manufacturer and has expanded aluminum production for automakers. As much as 4 percent of the manufacturer’s aluminum and copper products shipped from September 2016 to August 2017 were falsely labeled as meeting the strength and durability specifications required by their customers. The company discovered systemic data falsification during inspections at all four of their Japanese aluminum plants, and fabricated labels might date back ten years. Thus far, all of the falsified parts were shipped to Japanese factories.
Toyota and Nissan were quick to condemn the problem. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan acknowledged that Kobe Steel products were used in hoods, rear doors, and peripheral components. All the automakers are checking to see if the weak components affect driver or pedestrian safety, but this might just be the tip of the iceberg.
While the steelmaker is quick to point out there have been no known safety problems to date, who knows how many more auto parts were shipped with falsely labeled steel, aluminum, or copper? Kobe Steel supplied over 200 businesses with falsely labeled metals for years. General Motors and Ford were among the companies contracted with Kobe Steel. Aircraft and even rockets received metals from Kobe Steel. Let’s just say we expect more on this story to come out soon.