Auto makers globally have come under greater scrutiny after reports about manipulating emission and mileage data came out in the public domain. It started light last year when Volkswagen AG said it used illegal software on some diesel cars to cheat on U.S. emissions tests. Recently, Mitsubishi Motors Corp’s president, Tetsuro Aikawa, admitted to manipulating data and using an unauthorized testing method on some models for 25 years.
Now, in a related development, Suzuki Motor Corp.’s Osamu Suzuki, one of the auto industry’s longest-serving leaders said that he would step down from his chief-executive position after the controversy over fuel-economy data manipulation.
“I apologize once again for the trouble we caused,” Suzuki said at a news conference. He will also give up the CEO title at a shareholders’ meeting later this month.
Suzuki, who had been leading the company since 1978, last year ceded the presidency to his son, 57-year-old Toshihiro Suzuki, easing investor concerns over succession plans at Japan’s fourth-largest car maker.
According to reports, the company’s Executive Vice President Osamu Honda will also step down. In the light of this controversy, the company has decided to take preventative measures such as strengthening training for its engineers, improving testing technology and promoting the use of a whistle-blowing system.
In a statement, Suzuki Motor Corp admitted that the problems dated back to 2010 and about 2.1 million vehicles were affected, though the issues did not apply to Suzuki-branded vehicles sold outside Japan.