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Mitsubishi Motors falls as Nikkei says test issues date to 1990s

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Mitsubishi Motors Corp plunged a fifth day in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei newspaper reported the carmaker may have used fuel-efficiency tests inconsistent with government guidelines since the 1990s.

[OSAKA] Mitsubishi Motors Corp plunged a fifth day in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei newspaper reported the carmaker may have used fuel-efficiency tests inconsistent with government guidelines since the 1990s.

The shares dropped as much as 13 per cent, reversing earlier gains, and closed down 9.6 per cent at the close in Tokyo. Mitsubishi Motors has lost half its market value since April 19, the day before revealing it falsified data used to calculate fuel economy.

Tetsuji Inoue, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Motors, declined to comment on Nikkei report. The company said last week it had used methods to test for fuel economy that weren't compliant with Japanese standards since 2002.

Mitsubishi Motors president Tetsuro Aikawa is scheduled to brief reporters in Tokyo Tuesday at 4:30 pm, according to a statement from the transport ministry. The company's manipulation of fuel-economy tests is "extremely serious," transport minister Keiichi Ishii said after a cabinet meeting Tuesday in Tokyo. The ministry is forming a task force to examine steps to prevent irregularities in vehicle testing.

The Japanese carmaker's disclosures have intensified scrutiny of how carmakers label and advertise fuel efficiency following Volkswagen AG's disclosure in September that it cheated on diesel emissions tests.

Since then, investigators have raided French manufacturer PSA Group and Daimler AG began an internal probe of its certification process at the behest of the US Department of Justice as part of broader checks into vehicle exhaust levels.

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