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Kobe Steel Falsified Inspection Certificates

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The RV Industry Association sent out a bulletin to inform members of the recent admission by Kobe Steel that may raise safety concerns for users of its products. Kobe Steel is a Japanese manufacturer of steel, aluminum, copper, and other material products used in motor vehicles, vehicle components and other industries.

Last month, Kobe Steel disclosed that it had falsified inspection certificates for some aluminum and copper products. It also admitted that data on iron ore powder and other steel products may have been falsified as well. The falsification of this data was intended to make substandard products appear to meet customers’ quality standards.

There are more than 500 Kobe Steel customers affected by these falsified certifications on the strength and durability of metals.

Although no safety issues have been reported thus far, the government is not waiting to act. According to Kobe Steel, its iron ore powder is used in a wide range of vehicle components, including brakes, engines, and steering mechanisms. Congress has sent letters to the Association of Global Automakers as well as to some of the larger automotive manufacturers, asking if and how they have been affected by these revelations and whether they believe there to be any safety concerns with any substandard Kobe Steel products. Additionally, the Department of Justice has sent an inquiry to Kobe Steel requesting documents and records relating to the substandard metals sold in the U.S.

Most of the major automotive manufacturers have already conducted or are in the process of conducting internal investigations to determine if any of the products they use in vehicle manufacturing have been purchased from Kobe Steel, and if so, whether there are any safety concerns with such products.

Although there have been no notifications by any government entity to the RV industry regarding the Kobe Steel data falsification, RVIA believes its members should be aware of these developments.

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