DETROIT/TOKYO (Reuters) - General Motors is checking whether its cars contain falsely certified parts or components sourced from Japan's Kobe Steel <5406.T, the latest major automaker to be dragged into the cheating scandal.
"General Motors is aware of the reports of material deviation in Kobe Steel copper and aluminum products," spokesman Nick Richards told Reuters, confirming a Kyodo News report. "We are investigating any potential impact and do not have any additional comments at this time"
GM joins automakers including Toyota Motor Corp and as many as 200 other companies that have received parts sourced from Kobe Steel as the scandal reverberates through global supply chains.
On Wednesday fresh revelations showed data fabrication at the steelmaker was more widespread than it initially said, as the company joins a list of Japanese manufacturers that have admitted to similar misconduct in recent years.
Investors, worried about the financial impact and potential legal fallout, again dumped Kobe Steel stock, wiping about $1.6 billion off its market value in two days. On Thursday in Tokyo, the shares stabilized and were up 1.1 percent by around 0150 GMT, compared with a 0.3 percent gain in the Nikkei 225.
Kobe Steel President Hiroya Kawasaki said on Thursday his company would do the utmost to investigate the reason for the tampering and take measures to prevent further occurrences. He was speaking before meeting an industry ministry official to discuss the matter.
The steelmaker admitted at the weekend it had falsified data about the quality of aluminum and copper products used in cars, aircraft, space rockets and defense equipment, a further hit to Japanese manufacturers' reputation for quality products.
Kobe Steel said late on Wednesday it found 70 cases of tampering with data on materials used in optical disks and liquid crystal displays at its Kobelco Research Institute Inc, which makes and tests products for the company.
It also found one case of falsified data on iron powder products - material used for car parts such as gears - that were shipped to a customer.
An internal probe carried out since it discovered the issues in its aluminum and copper business has not found other cases of data tampering, Yoshihiko Katsukawa, a managing executive officer at Kobe Steel, told a news conference on Wednesday.
He said the company - which has said it was examining possible data falsification going back 10 years - has begun an external investigation of all its units, including those overseas.
"We can't rule out the possibility that the external investigation will find other cases," Katsukawa said, adding no customers had raised any safety issues or stopped buying its products.
(Reporting by Nick Carey in DETROIT and Kaneko Kaori in TOKYO; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Stephen Coates and Kenneth Maxwell)