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Suzuki admits to more improper emissions checks

Japanese automaker finds two inspectors doctored carbon dioxide results

The Transport Ministry has ordered Suzuki to conduct further inspections.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese automaker Suzuki Motor, rocked by recent revelations that its employees had conducted emissions tests improperly, on Wednesday reported additional malpractice to the country's transport ministry.

Suzuki on Aug. 9 announced that inadequate test results, concerning factors such as exhaust gas composition, were given passing marks. This time, the company said it found more such cases than it previously reported, as well as new cases in which test results were falsified.

"We are truly sorry for the insufficiency of our investigation," President Toshihiro Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday evening. He revealed that officials from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism had made on-site inspections from Aug. 28 to 30 and pointed out inconsistencies in data-handling in the earlier report.

The number of affected vehicles increased by 482 from the figure announced in August, to 6,883.

"We still have facts to be confirmed, with help from independent specialists," Suzuki said of management's responsibility. "My responsibility is to take measures to prevent such accidents from reoccurring."

The fresh findings include test results on motorcycles, the company said.

The automaker insisted once again that the "additions or changes in data, or revisions in measured figures, do not affect exhaust or mileage" of the vehicles concerned.

In the latest report, Suzuki revealed that two individuals in charge of inspections were found to have dishonestly entered figures for carbon dioxide in exhaust gases that were lower than the measured levels, after the vehicles' measurements did not reach the required level. The report cited falsification of data on 2,737 vehicles assembled at three domestic plants.

The ministry instructed the company, which is headquartered in the central Japanese city of Hamamatsu, to conduct further investigations to determine whether there was other malpractice, work out preventive measures and swiftly report back.

Eri Sugiura contributed to this report.

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