TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Nissan Motor Co. said Friday some of its vehicles had been built without proper safety inspections, a finding that could force the Japanese carmaker to issue a massive recall.
Nissan is now unable to sell 60,000 new cars stockpiled at its plants and dealers in Japan because safety inspections were done by unqualified personnel and did not comply with government regulations.
If the flawed inspections also affect vehicles already sold, Nissan will order a recall, with one of its officials suggesting it may have to call back more than a million cars.
The automaker must redo inspections on 21 models -- including the Note, Skyline, and Leaf electric car -- built at six domestic factories after it came to light that some workers involved in the final inspection process were not fully certified.
Nissan said the issue was brought to its attention after an on-site probe by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism earlier this month.
The ministry directed Nissan to review its operations and will examine whether the company violated the motor vehicle law. It also asked other automakers to look at their own factories for similar cases.
Nissan will determine if it needs to order a recall, after checking new cars sold over the past three years and that have yet to undergo inspection under Japan's periodic "shaken" exam system, its public relations official said.
It is not clear if the flawed inspection was due to an oversight or an intentional attempt to cut corners.
Last year Nissan rescued Mitsubishi Motors Corp. through a capital injection, after that automaker's sales plummeted in the wake of a fuel economy cheating scandal.
Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors are part of an alliance with French automaker Renault SA, and are all headed by Carlos Ghosn.