Multiple premises connected to affiliates of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in Germany were raided by local prosecutors Tuesday as part of an investigation into suspected diesel emissions fraud.
The probe concerns the alleged installation in the Japanese carmaker's vehicles sold in Germany of software to disguise the amount of diesel emissions, according to U.S. and European media reports.
"We are currently collecting the details of the matter. We will cooperate with the investigations," Mitsubishi Motors said in a statement.
Japanese auto parts maker Denso Corp. said its facility in Germany had also been searched by prosecutors on Tuesday and it will fully cooperate with the investigators.
Denso, a group company of Toyota Motor Corp., has business relations with Mitsubishi Motors in Germany. A Denso spokesman declined to comment on whether the search was related to the Mitsubishi Motors emissions allegations.
The emissions scandal first emerged in 2015 following investigations by German prosecutors into similar fraud cases linked to major automakers in the country, including Volkswagen AG.
"It is suspected that the motors are equipped with a so-called cheat device, which ensures that the permissible limits for nitrogen oxides are observed during tests, but not during actual operation," the prosecutor's office and police said, according to the German Press Agency.
Mitsubishi Motors, which is part of a three-way alliance with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., does not have a manufacturing base in Germany and imports its vehicles from abroad.
According to the reports, an investigation into Mitsubishi Motors began in November concerning 1.6- and 2.2-liter diesel engines.
The prosecutors searched locations including a research and development company fully owned by Mitsubishi Motors and an affiliate selling its vehicles in Germany, the Japanese firm said.
They also raided a facility of a German auto parts supplier, according to the reports. The prosecutors will request that Mitsubishi car owners come forward.
Confidence in the automobile industry has been falling in recent years following multiple reports and investigations into emissions fraud among major firms also including Audi AG, a Volkswagen group company, and BMW AG.
Last April, former Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn was prosecuted for fraud, while its CEO Herbert Diess was charged in September for alleged involvement in stock market manipulation.
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