Japan’s New Car Makers Radiation Monitoring Plan

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Japan’s new car makers are instituting a program of radioactivity monitoring following concerns among consumers that cars may have been contaminated as a result of the Fukushima nuclear incident.

I have written before about how the risks are actually very low, but it is a smart move on the part of these companies to create a transparent and unified system to allay customer concerns. This system will apply to cars for sale in Japan as well as to cars for export, and the measurements will be done as they leave the factory. Readings will be taken from the bonnet (hood) tires and steering wheel of the ten cars from every few hundred.

Although this is a good step forward in restoring consumer confidence, in the case of export cars, I think that this would be reinforced by a second, independent test on arrival in the destination market. After all, cars are exposed to the elements while on the dock awaiting shipment, so it could easily be argued that the readings from the exterior of the car as it leaves the factory are rendered irrelevant by this.

The cost of independent inspections would be minimal compared with the potential damage to brand image so, while I personally do not think that any untoward levels would be detected, I think there is a strong case to both be doing them and to be seen to be doing them.

Source: Nikkei (Japanese-language)

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