December 19, 2017 / 9:05 AM / 7 months ago

Subaru vows to bolster training, compliance after inspection scandal

TOKYO (Reuters) - Subaru Corp (7270.T) vowed to improve oversight of its final inspections after revealing uncertified staff carried out tests of new cars for the domestic market for decades, the latest in a slew of scandals to rock Japan’s manufacturing industry.

Subaru Corp's President and CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga bows his head to apologise at a news conference at the company's Tokyo headquarters in Tokyo, Japan December 19, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

In October, Subaru revealed that uncertified technicians took part in final inspections at domestic plants for over 30 years. It also said some staff had cheated on tests to certify as technicians for the final inspections.

Subaru said last month it was recalling 395,000 vehicles in Japan and forecast 20 billion yen ($177 million) in related costs.

In its latest report to the government, Subaru said it would improve training for and monitoring of final inspections, and communicate the importance of compliance to staff.

The automaker said a root of the problem was that management and staff did not fully appreciate the importance of the final inspections.

“We regret that, despite understanding the social demand for an emphasis on compliance, and the increased influence we have through our social presence, we had problems of compliance, carrying out inappropriate final inspections,” it said.

Subaru’s revelation was part of a series of compliance failings by Japanese companies that have surfaced in recent months, hitting the country’s reputation for quality control and prompting calls for better governance.

Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) has admitted to similar lapses, while Kobe Steel Ltd (5406.T), Mitsubishi Materials Corp (5711.T) and Toray Industries Inc (3402.T) - all key suppliers of products to global manufacturers - have admitted to product data fabrication in recent months.

On Tuesday, Mitsubishi Materials said in an update on its own probe that it had found more cases of products whose data had likely been falsified.

Separately, Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) said it had installed more than 10,000 elevators that did not meet specifications it had submitted to the government, but added there were no safety concerns with the elevators.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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