October has not been the best of months for Nissan. Earlier this month, Japan’s transport ministry revealed that at five of the company's six plants in the country had quality checks being certified by unauthorized workers. According to Reuters, vehicles destined for the domestic market have to go under a final check by certified technicians.
“It’s extremely regrettable, causing anxiety for users and shaking the foundation of the certification system,” said Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Keiichi Ishii at a press conference earlier this month.
Nissan announced that it would be recalling 1.2 million vehicles built within the past three years due to this issue.
The news has only gotten worse as the Japanese automaker announced today that it would be suspending production at all of their Japan plants for at least two weeks to investigate and address this issue. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed at a briefing that this unauthorized approval continued a month after Nissan was told about this issue and said it strengthened the control of its inspection processes.
“Our emergency measures were not enough. We were unable to change our bad habits,” said Saikawa
There are numerous factors as to how this debacle developed including increasing the efficiency of the inspection process and plants transferring the checks to other lines.
Nissan is planning on recalling an additional 34,000 vehicles for re-inspection.
Production of export vehicles will continue as this issue is specific to Japanese-market models.
Regarding recurrence of final vehicle inspection issue at Nissan’s vehicle plants in Japan
YOKOHAMA, Japan – As previously announced, on September 18 the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation (MLIT) notified Nissan that in the final vehicle inspection process, certain checks were carried out by technicians not properly registered to perform those duties under Nissan’s own processes. Nissan took corrective measures at Japanese production plants by September 20 to address the issue. By October 18, the investigation team (led by a third party) discovered that at its Oppama, Tochigi and the Nissan Kyushu plants, certain parts of the final inspection process were still being carried out by technicians not properly registered to perform those duties for vehicles for the Japan market.
Nissan decided today to suspend vehicle production for the Japan market at all Nissan and Nissan Shatai plants in Japan.
Nissan regrets any inconvenience and concern this has caused to its valued customers and other stakeholders in Japan.
- The plants transferred final vehicle inspection check items from the final vehicle inspection line to other lines, such as the “marketability inspection” and the “offline inspection”.
- As a result, employees who were not internally registered as final vehicle inspectors performed final vehicle inspections.
Nissan will take the following actions with regard to the production line and vehicles that did not meet Japanese market requirements for final inspection:
Production line in the plants
- The final vehicle inspection line will be configured as originally submitted to MLIT, consolidating all final inspection processes.
- Final inspection process will be separated from other processes and only internally registered final vehicle inspectors will have access to the final inspection line.
Unregistered and registered vehicles
- Nissan is considering re-inspecting the unregistered vehicles at certified Nissan dealership facilities throughout Japan.
- Nissan is considering submitting a noncompliance recall report for registered vehicles.
- Approximately 34,000 vehicles produced between September 20 – October 18, 2017 including those produced for other makers will be subject to re-inspection.
Nissan regards the recurrence of this issue at domestic plants — despite the corrective measures taken — as critical. The investigation team will continue to thoroughly investigate the issue and determine measures to prevent recurrence. Details of the above will be included in the final report to be published on a later date.