There’s no denying it’s been a bad 24 hours for the car industry; first Mitsubishi admitted it had cheated in fuel tests in Japan, then the discrepancy between laboratory emissions testing and real-world emissions testing was highlighted by a new survey.
But before panic sets in and envelops the entire automotive industry, Volkswagen Dieselgate-style, let’s keep a sense of perspective on both. Right now, Mitsubishi’s scandal is contained to four models sold in the Japanese market. What it and its employees have done in cheating fuel economy tests is plainly outrageous, and it fully deserves the scorn being heaped on it. Questions must be asked - just as they are being asked at VW - as to how this could happen and who was responsible for it. Sanctions must be imposed.
To date, though, the extent of the cheat has been exposed as playing with tyre pressures - inarguably cheating, but perhaps not on the scale of developing software deliberately to cheat emissions tests and then implementing it across millions of cars sold worldwide. I’m not suggesting for a moment that everyone shrugs their shoulders and says ‘So what?’, but I do not believe that this latest blow to the image of the car industry should cause us to leap to the conclusion that all car makers are irrefutably morally bankrupt.