Mitsubishi shares plunge 16% as mileage cheating scandal escalates

US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asks Mitsubishi for information on vehicles sold in the US.

Shares of Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi Motors plunged as much as 16 percent on Friday as the company battled a fast escalating scandal over fuel efficiency data manipulation.

Japanese government agencies raided the offices of the country's sixth biggest carmaker on Thursday after it admitted to manipulating data to overstate the fuel efficiency of as many as 600,000 cars.

The scandal burnt through the carmaker's stock, resulting in more than 43 percent erosion in the company's market value in three days.

The share plunge has wiped off around $3.3. billion off Mitsubishi's market capitalization.

"Based on [the results of] the raid, and a report from the company, we would like to reveal the extent of the inaccuracies as soon as possible," Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

"We will deal with the situation in a strict manner and would like to make sure of the safety of cars."

Japanese authorities have given Mitsubishi time until April 27 to submit a full report on the malpractice.

Compounding trouble for Mitsubishi, US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked it for information on vehicles sold in the US, Reuters reported.

Japan's Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii said he wanted Mitsubishi to consider the possibility of buying back affected cars. "This is a serious problem that could lead to the loss of trust in our country's auto industry," he said.

Mitsubishi has admitted to tampering with the fuel efficiency data of its i-MiEV electric car and four other moderls, including two models which it manufactured for Nissan. i-MiEV electric cars have been extensively sold in foreign markets.

Local media reported the company might have manipulated mileage data on Outlander, Pajero and

Minicab MiEV.