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More Mitsubishi models in Japan found with inflated mileage

By Yuri Kageyama Associated Press

TOKYO – The mileage scandal at Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is widening after the Japanese government ordered sales halted on eight more models after finding mileage was falsely inflated.

The Japanese automaker acknowledged in April it systematically falsified mileage data on its eK wagon and eK Space minicars, also produced for Nissan Motor Co.

At that time, it had said no other models were affected. But the transport ministry carried out its own tests and said Tuesday that it had found other models, including the Pajero sport utility vehicle, had inflated mileage by as much as 8.8 percent, and on average 4.2 percent.

The ministry said the cruise range on the i-MiEV electric car had also been overstated.

The company had claimed it traveled 112 miles on a single charge but it actually went just 107 miles under government testing, company spokesman Shinji Akiyama said Wednesday.

“Of several data we came up with on mileage for the models, we used the best ones, not the average,” he said. “We are sorry for the trouble we have caused our customers.”

No overseas models are affected.

The company already submitted documents to the government with the corrected mileage and when the procedure is completed, it can again start selling the vehicles, Akiyama said. Sales of the minicars had also been initially halted until proper documents could be submitted.

Mitsubishi’s vehicle sales in Japan has nose-dived, falling 35 percent last month compared to the same month last year.

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Motors is promising to compensate the more than 76,000 vehicle owners in Japan with $290 to $970 in cash. It has announced similar compensation for those who had bought the minicars.

Such costs are expected to add $1.5 billion in extraordinary losses, and the automaker said the new compensation will add another $68 million.

Nissan has said it is taking a 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi to help its turnaround, although Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has stressed the deal was not final until “due diligence,” expected to take until the end of this month.

Nissan did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the latest mileage scandal at Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi’s reputation has been hammered by a massive, systematic and decades-long cover-up of defects that surfaced in the early 2000s.

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