Japan's Kobe Steel shares dive as quality scandal spreads

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Kobe Steel said that the data links back to four aluminum plants in Japan and claimed that the practice goes as far back as 10 years, meaning the problem could span all the way back to cars built in 2007 and onward.

Shares in Japan's Kobe Steel dived on Friday on a report that its widening quality scandal has spread to more than 30 foreign customers, including Boeing, General Motors, and French automaker PSA.

Kobe Steel has already admitted that its products, with falsified data about their strength and durability, have already been sold to around 200 companies globally, with the depth of the scandal so damaging that the government here has ordered the steelmaker to report the results of new safety checks within a fortnight.

Kobe Steel was founded in 1905 and has been a bastion of Japan's manufacturing sector.

Kobe Steel Chief Executive Hiroya Kawasaki will hold a news conference later on Friday to provide an update on the situation. Another case involved 6,611 items of sputtering target materials shipped to 70 customers beginning in November 2011.

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Kobe Steel, Japan's third-largest steel maker, has announced that between September 1, 2016 and August 31 of this year it sold aluminum and copper materials using falsified data on such things as the products' strength.

Kawasaki, stating that no recalls on products will be made at the moment, said in his first public appearance since Sunday's revelations, that the results of safety inspections on shipped products would be made within two weeks and details of the firm's response to products undergoing false inspection data given.

When it was uncovered that Kobe Steel had been falsifying data to make it look as if its metal met quality standards, automakers begun trying to identify which models were affected.

Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, and Mazda have all confirmed that they are customers of the metal producer and are now working to find out which vehicles are affected. "At the same time, we are considering what measures need to be put in place going forward".

It is the latest in a string of quality control and governance scandals to hit major Japanese businesses in recent years, undermining the country's reputation for quality. In one of the largest, auto parts maker Takata Corp. has paid $1 billion in penalties for concealing an air bag defect blamed for at least 19 deaths worldwide.

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