Kobe Steel announced that about 4 percent of the aluminum and copper products that it shipped for last ten years were falsely labeled to meet the specifications requested by customers.
While the products were delivered to more than 200 companies, the list of companies may include Shinso Corp., Mitsubishi Corp., General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Alconix Corp.
Further the malpractice may have worldwide implications as supply chains of high end hardware runs long. For example Subaru Corp said it has been using Kobe Steel Ltd’s aluminum products with falsified inspection data in its cars and aircraft, shedding more light on companies affected by the decade-long systematic misconduct by the steelmaker. Given the fact the Subaru supplies aircraft and aircraft parts to Japanese Defense Forces and to Boeing the implications to global aviation cannot be ruled out.
Mazda Motor Corp has also acknowledged using Kobe Steel’s aluminum products in its passenger cars.
The disclosures will lead to inquiries in which if a lack of strength is found, the data fabrication could develop into a massive recall running into billions of dollars. Implications on Defense and Aviation products may be even more severe.
The improper conduct took place at four group facilities in Japan from September 2016 through August 2017, affecting 19,300 tons of flat-rolled and extruded aluminum products, 19,400 aluminum castings and forgings, and 2,200 tons of copper products. This represents roughly 4% of annual sales for these segments.
Japanese Government has already set up an enquiry, while individual companies, affected by the scam have also begin their own investigations.