It shouldn’t really surprise anybody that Mitsubishi finally got taken over by a larger auto maker, the brand was simply too small and too irrelevant in the world’s most important markets to survive on its own. But the way Nissan played its cards was a stroke of genius, whether intentional from the get-go or just improvising on the opportunity at hand. Mitsubishi has supplied its bigger rival with Japanese market minicars (“Kei” cars, as described in my article on the Japanese auto culture) since 2011 and when Nissan was testing the pre-production next generation cars they found some irregularities with the reported fuel economy figures. This led to a public scandal in which Mitsubishi had to admit some of its engineers had been using a trick with tire pressures for the past 25 years to overstate fuel economy of its Japanese market cars (and perhaps some cars sold outside of Japan), causing Mitsubishi’s share prices on the stock market to almost halve. Nissan then scooped up 34% of these shares at the heavily discounted price for a controlling stake to become Mitsubishi’s largest single shareholder. It’ll take a few months to complete the takeover, and there are still quite a few issues to be handled before the deal will be finalized, but looking ahead: what will Nissan do with Mitsubishi? [Read more…]
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the “Fuel-loss Foundation” in The Netherlands who had sued the Dutch Toyota importer for overstating the fuel economy claims of its vehicles, most notably the gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. I had predicted their lawsuit would not be successful for two reasons: first and foremost because Toyota is simply following the European guidelines for fuel economy statements, and secondly because the only reason the lawsuit was aimed at Toyota specifically is to set them as an example, as the brand is the largest producer and seller of hybrid vehicles, the type of cars that showed the highest deviation between theoretical fuel economy and actual fuel economy.
Nearly every car reviewed by the foundation was less fuel efficient than its manufacturer claims, which should be an indication that there is more likely to be a discrepancy between the European test cycle and the real-world driving conditions than this being a result of deceptive behavior by Toyota. [Read more…]
The Dutch Toyota importer is being sued by for allegedly overstating fuel economy claims on its hybrid models. A foundation called the Fuel Loss Foundation (Stichting Brandstofverlies) claims there are huge disparities between the fuel consumption claimed by the manufacturer and the actual mileage that customers experience from real-world driving, especially for its hybrid models like the Prius, Auris hybrid and Yaris hybrid.
The foundation has studied the fuel consumption of 158 cars of different brands, by using data from a fuel card company, online fuel economy websites and the Dutch Automobile club. From this study, they claim that the real world fuel economy of those cars was on average 31,7 percent higher than the manufacturer’s claims. Their press release cited the example of a Toyota Yaris Hybrid, which is supposed to run 28,3 kilometers on one liter of gasoline (66,5 USMPG, 80 Imp.MPG) according to Toyota, but owners only manage an average of 17,4 kilometers (40,9 USMPG, 49 Imp.MPG). They also called a few Toyota dealers, and some of the salespeople that were interviewed claimed the car would actually achieve fuel economy of 27 kilometers per liter (63,5 USMPG, 76 Imp.MPG), while others admitted that 18 kilometers (42,3 USMPG, 51 Imp.MPG) would be more realistic. The Fuel Loss Foundation concludes that automakers and dealers knowingly mislead consumers, and the lawsuit is supposed to get compensation from manufacturers for the loss of fuel costs. [Read more…]