Japanese carmakers have said they've checked the safety of aluminum components made by scandal-hit Kobe Steel. They argued the parts met applicable statutory standards, sending the steelmaker's shares up sharply.
Three Japanese automakers on Thursday confirmed the safety of Kobe Steel aluminum components, allaying some concerns that the steelmaker's falsified quality data might have compromised the safety of products.
Japan's Kobe Steel admitted earlier this month to manipulating the quality data for aluminum and copper products and even optical disks. Since then, global carmakers, aircraft companies and other manufacturers have scrambled to identify potential hazards.
Toyota, Honda and Mazda said the hoods and other exterior parts used in their cars and made of Kobe Steel aluminum were safe, prompting a 5-percent jump in the steelmaker's shares.
Half as bad as thought?
"We confirmed that the materials satisfy applicable statutory standards and our own internal standard for key safety and durability requirements for vehicles," Toyota said in a statement.
Aluminum is supplied in sheets and used by automakers to press exterior parts. It has become an increasingly popular material to use in body parts as it is lighter than steel which can improve fuel efficiency.
While other carmakers said they were still investigating the effect on their vehicles, Thursday's announcement by three Japanese manufacturers suggested Kobe Steel's cheating scandal had a limited impact on product safety.
A day earlier, Europe's air safety authority warned that firms manufacturing or maintaining aircraft in the EU should avoid parts from Kobe Steel.
EU aviation firms should "do a thorough review of their supply chains in order to identify if, and when, Kobe Steel products have been used," the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said in a bulletin.
"Where alternative parts are available, it is recommended to suspend use of Kobe Steel products until the legitimacy of the affected parts can be determined."
hg/jd (Reuters, AFP)