Daniel Susco
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Mazda Flatly Denies Japanese Emissions Cheating Allegations

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2018 Mazda CX-9

Sometimes, it seems the more serious the news Mazda puts out, the longer the press release headline is. And this one, coming in the aftermath of accusations of emissions cheating, is a doozy at 18 words: “Report on fuel economy and emission testing confirms no improper alteration or falsification of test data by Mazda.”

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The release is of an internal investigation from Mazda into its fuel-economy and emissions inspections. According to the company, it found that nobody was faking results. What it did find, however, was that in 72 out of the 1,472 vehicles tested (a little under 5 percent) had “speed trace errors.”

Speed trace errors are when the testing vehicle’s speed changes more than the test’s rules allow. In this case, the test was the JC08, a Japanese emissions test run on a dynamometer. According to Mazda, the errors slipped through because there wasn’t any automatic system to flag these tests, and the normal procedure expected the inspector to determine if a speed error occurred.

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So, plainly put, Mazda is saying there was no actual cheating, just a small number of times the inspectors did the test wrong. It says that it now has an automatic system to flag bad tests and more employees to double-check the tests.

Beyond that, Mazda said in the release that these problem tests only apply to Japan-market vehicles. Instead, it says it tests export vehicles with the regulations of the market they are going to. So, the CX-9 you buy in Pennsylvania is unaffected by this.