German prosecutors announced Tuesday are looking into Mitsubishi for alleged defeat devices installed on their diesel engines. The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said authorities had searched premises in Frankfurt, Hanover and Regensburg, Germany as part of the probe, according to a recent Reuters report.
This announcement made public a months-long investigation of the Japanese automaker. As Volkswagen was charged back in 2015, this probe also centers around potential fraud, with prosecutors alleging Mitsubishi employed technology to get around emissions regulations. At this point, the automaker has not been charged with any crime, nor is it clear exactly how many vehicles could be affected by defeat devices. However, the investigation does specifically focus on 1.6-liter and 2.2-liter diesel engines under Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions standards. Mitsubishi doesn’t currently sell any diesel-equipped models in the U.S.
According to a Wall Street Journal piece, a prosecutor said models that do have illegal software could lose their emissions certification. As a result, those cars would be banned from driving on public roads in Europe.
“We will cooperate fully”, says Mitsubishi
Daniel Narcass, a Mitsubishi Motors Europe spokesperson, said the company first learned of the raids on their offices as they were happening. “We are just learning about the whole thing now,” he said. “Of course, we will cooperate fully, but we still aren’t sure what this is all about.” To that end, Narcass also didn’t comment as to what Mitsubishi’s official response to this investigation will be.
Mitsubishi has been on the upswing in the U.S., seeing its sales rise slightly in 2019 over the previous year. While the this investigation may not affect cars sold here directly, a costly outcome like what German manufacturer Volkswagen faced could impact Mitsubishi’s aims to revitalize its lineup and improve sales again in 2020.
See more on Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV model in the video below: