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Kobe Steel under a klieg light in U.S. over data fakery

TOKYO — American auto safety authorities are digging deeper into Kobe Steel’s product data falsification scandal and could ultimately impose penalties on the Japanese materials maker.


The Japanese company revealed in 2017 that it had doctored quality data on aluminum and copper parts for years, shipping products short of agreed-to standards without customers’ knowledge or consent.


In a special order dated Nov. 8, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked 29 automakers, including General Motors and Toyota Motor, to report by Dec. 28 on the safety of products made with Kobe Steel materials, Reuters has reported.


Honda Motor, which received the order, says it has internally confirmed the safety of all products made with Kobe Steel materials and reported accordingly. Toyota also submitted its findings by the deadline.


The Department of Justice asked Kobe Steel in October to submit related documents, including lists of products affected by the problem and the companies it has shipped them to.


Affected products went to more than 500 companies. Safety has been confirmed for 96% of these customers, tallies from the steelmaker show.


Although the scandal would appear to be under control as far as safety goes, it may still hit Kobe steel hard in the pocketbook.


Kobe Steel could be fined in the U.S. and has been sued by consumers in Canada.

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