Japanese automakers have never been cited for falsifying their diesel-emission test reports like Volkswagen. Instead of developing diesel cars for western markets, which require a higher level of technological development because they have stricter emissions standards for harmful substances than Japan, Japanese automakers are focusing on developing ecologically friendly cars such as electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrids (PHV) that can be charged at home.
More specifically, they are focusing their activities on development based on U.S. regulatory standards as the U.S. market is a major revenue driver. Starting this summer, California will set a requirement for the percentage of zero-emission cars automakers must sell. Under this new regulation, traditional hybrids (HV) are not considered ecologically friendly cars. Other states within the U.S. are also considering adopting tighter regulations.
Based on this U.S. trend, Toyota launched an upgraded Prius PHV last November in major U.S. and European markets. Nissan is scheduled to debut its new Leaf EV model by year end. Subaru and Mazda also announced plans last year to develop PHVs and EVs in the near future.
While no Japanese automaker has ever had been involved in an emissions-related scandal, both Mitsubishi Motors and Suzuki came under fire from consumers last spring for fuel efficiency fraud.