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Mazda admits to using ‘external device’, modified engine sofware on vehicle testing

Mazda2 Demio

Following the safety test scandal of Daihatsu, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan has initiated an investigation into other domestic manufacturers.

In an official statement, Mazda stated it had conducted an investigation into all of its 2,403 tests for applications for Type Designation tests performed between January 2014 and January 2024. The investigation results confirmed irregularities in a total of five tests in two test categories.

The irregularities, which were reported to MLIT on May 30, involve 150,878 manufactured vehicles, out of which 149,313 were sold in the domestic market.

According to Mazda, they had used an “external device” in the frontal collision test for the Mazda 6 and Mazda 3, respectively known as Atenza and Axela in Japan.

The devise was used to trigger a timed activation of the airbag instead of spontaneous activation based on collision detection by an onboard sensor.

Even though these models are no longer being produced, Mazda said it has conducted in-house technical verification as well as re-tests, and confirmed that these models have the performance that meets the legal standards for occupant protection performance in the event of a frontal collision.

Additionally, Mazda admitted to using a different engine control software in the petrol engine output test for the MX-5 RF and Mazda 2.

“The test should have been performed using engine control software in the same condition as a mass-production vehicle, but it was conducted by using control software in which the ignition timing adjust function was partially deactivated,” the manufacturer said.

In light of the result, Mazda stated that they will rewrite the engine control software and conduct the tests again under the same conditions as those for mass-production vehicles.

The company assured that the affected units are still safe to drive but have temporarily suspended their sales since May 30.

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