Japanese truck maker Hino has suspended the sale of several vehicles in Japan after admitting to “misconduct” in its fuel emissions tests, reigniting calls locally for whoever wins the coming federal election to toughen the testing regime for vehicle makers.

In a statement, Hino Motors admitted it had falsified engine performance data in its “emissions durability testing” for one of its engines, and cheated fuel economy results in two heavy duty engines.

The company, a subsidiary of Toyota, said that “internal pressures” to meet certain targets and deadlines had been placed on Hino employees, leading to the cheated vehicle tests.

It has suspended the sale of five trucks and buses in Japan using those engines.

Hino said it “voluntarily commenced an investigation” into its emissions testing after recently identifying a potential issue, leading the United States Department of Justice to then launch its own investigation.

The company found that during a durability test for emissions performance in one engine, a muffler used to purify noxious emissions into nitrogen and water was replaced during testing, “and the test was continued using the replaced muffler”.

“This change was made after learning that emissions performance would deteriorate over time and that the engine may not meet the regulatory emissions standards,” the company said.

“Hino has also confirmed through emission durability retesting that there is a possibility this engine may exceed regulatory emissions standards over the course of the vehicle’s full useful life.”

Hino also admitted that during fuel consumption testing for two of its heavy-duty engines, fuel flow rate values were altered “to make it appear advantageous in relation to fuel economy”.

“This caused an altered value that was better than the actual value to be displayed on the fuel consumption meter,” the company said.

And while it has not identified misconduct in relation to a fourth engine, Hino said the fuel economy of its light duty engine may also not meet its reported fuel economy.

Hino has apologised “for the inconvenience and concern” to its customers.

“Going forward, Hino is committed to putting compliance first.”

Motoring bodies say scandal proves need for testing overhaul in Australia

After Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions tests in 2015, several countries moved to introduce “real-world” testing regimes that were done on the road, not in a laboratory.

Australia did not make that move.

The head of Australia’s peak motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), said Hino’s admission returns the car maker emissions cheating scandal to the spotlight.

“This scandal again highlights the inability of the current laboratory-based testing regime to catch such misconduct, and once again it shows consumers deserve a cop on the beat that’s able to properly scrutinise vehicles entering the Australian market,” AAA’s Michael Bradley said.

“Australian motorists deserve to know exactly how their vehicles perform in the real world, how much fuel they will actually use, and the veracity of their claimed green credentials.”

Federal Labor has committed to funding the AAA to introduce a real-world emissions testing regime if it wins the election.

The Coalition has indicated it would not support the move, because international standards are based on lab results and therefore lab testing is better for comparing between car models.

Mr Bradley said introducing real-world testing would be better for the environment’s and for consumers’ wallets.

“Australians desire a clean environment, but with petrol prices around $2 per litre … voters also want policies that reduce cost of living pressures,” Mr Bradley said.

“By promoting real-world fuel consumption, the government can change consumer demand and reduce Australian emissions, while improving motoring affordability.”

Extracted in full from: Truck maker Hino admits to cheating emissions and fuel economy tests – ABC News