Kobe Steel embroiled in deepening quality scandal

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Hitachi also said it had used the Kobe Steel parts in trains built for the United Kingdom market. "Data in inspection certificates had been improperly rewritten etc., and the products were shipped as having met the specifications concerned". But he added that no Kobe Steel customers had raised safety concerns or cancelled contracts with the firm. You can also contact Peretz Bronstein or his Investor Relations Analyst, Yael Hurwitz of Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC: 212-697-6484.

The head of Japan's number three steelmaker said Thursday that his firm was checking with more Japanese clients as well as foreign buyers including General Motors. A government spokesman on Wednesday criticized the apparently widespread falsification of data as "inappropriate", saying it could undermine product safety.

Kawasaki, who was making his first public appearance since the company unveiled data falsification on Sunday, said he will announce the results of the investigation on safety of the shipped products in two weeks and release countermeasures in one month. It has set up a committee headed by its president to investigate quality issues and hired an outside law firm to conduct a probe into the misconduct.

Both companies said the components do not pose any safety risks, and that they are considering replacing them during routine maintenance. They were produced by Kobe Steel over the past five years, he said. "However, on your question of models affected, we are now looking into that".

The data tampering at its aluminium unit could also hit plans to expand the business as carmakers increasingly turn to the material, which is lighter than steel, to meet tighter environmental rules. "We are still investigating the details".


Nonetheless, investigations into these products are still ongoing, and issues could be found further down the line, as more information becomes available.

So far, there has been "no real change" in customer orders, and the company's procurement of aluminium and copper metal raw materials is also normal given that production is not affected, Kobe Steel spokesman Gary Tsuchida told Metal Bulletin. "As hoods are related to pedestrian safety, we are working to quickly assess any potential impact on vehicle functionality".

Toyota called the revelations a "grave issue", and said it was making checks on where the components were used and what effect they have on products using them.

For body shops and mechanics, there might be little to do except monitor the situation and educate customers that a recall could be possible, particularly on exterior panels and closures.

Featured image: Kobe Steel CEO Hiroya Kawasaki, right, appears at the May 19, 2017, inauguration of an automotive aluminum plant in China.

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