Japan’s transport ministry has asked all automakers active on the internal market to probe whether their diesel-powered models abide to the country’s emissions standards after Volkswagen AG acknowledged it had cheated in the US.
The ministry has called the carmakers, such as Toyota, Mazda or Volkswagen to deliver briefs of their own investigations by the end of the week, according to Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta, who talked to the media in Tokyo on Tuesday. The official added the government was also mulling the modification of the way it certifies diesel engines, without delivering specific details. Japan is not alone in probing if carmakers are in compliance with national regulations after Volkswagen was caught rigging through the use of illegal software the readings on how much its diesel-equipped cars pollute. The test dupe has backfired massively – the company’s CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned and is now under investigation by German prosecutors for allegations of fraud while the company’s market cap has dropped by 27 billion euros ($30.4 billion).
According to the Japanese official, while the German carmaker is not officially selling any diesel cars through its dealer networks, individual buyers have imported a little over 200 Volkswagen and Audi units since 2008 and the ministry was now probing whether the cars need to be recalled and repaired. Volkswagen is the top selling foreign brand in Japan. Meanwhile, the best-selling diesel car brand in Japan is Mazda, who claimed it “never uses illegal software or defeat devices,” according to a company statement issued Tuesday.