Nokian CEO Ari Lehtoranta admitted to using custom tires in tests before 2014, which was also prior to him taking over as the corporation's boss. The Finnish newspaper alleged the deception began in 2005, according to Reuters. Lehtoranta claims the company has stopped giving out modified versions of its products for evaluations.
Nokian released a statement (below) about the Finnish report, and the company claimed this was an industry-wide issue. "In past years, when the testing organisations asked manufacturers to send them tyres for the tests, activities in the industry were dubious," it said. "On our behalf, we apologise and regret the mistakes we have made in the past."
The fallout from the report caused Nokian's stock to drop the most in two years, and it decreased as much as 9.6 percent at one point in the day, Bloomberg reports. Shares are down nearly six percent as of this writing.
So far, the Finnish report only appears to apply to tire tests in Europe. Autoblog reached out to Nokian in the US to find out whether this deception was also be the case in North America. We'll update this story when we have more info.
Nokian Tyres wants to comment on the ongoing discussion about the trustworthiness of tyre tests executed by car media. The topic was raised in the interview of Nokian Tyres' CEO Ari Lehtoranta in Finnish magazine Kauppalehti on 24 Feb 2016.
- We wanted to bring up tyre testing in car media ourselves, as we have been increasing the transparency and ethicality of our operations on all levels. In past years, when the testing organisations asked manufacturers to send them tyres for the tests, activities in the industry were dubious. Major test organisations have now for years acquired the tyres from tyre stores, and also make control tests to the tyres afterwards. The Board of Nokian Tyres has never decided on such stock option schemes that would have encouraged cheating in tests, unlike what has been implied in the media.
- Last year we audited our operations. Right after that we clarified our rules for test tyres which now specificly forbid any planning or manufacturing of tyres that are targeted only for car media tests. The issue was immediately handled in our Board of directors and together we decided to come out with this information on our own terms. On our behalf, we apologise and regret the mistakes we have made in the past.
- High quality of our products is the foundation of Nokian Tyres. Our products are also top class in safety, says CEO Ari Lehtoranta.
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