close
close

The car safety scandal in Japan grows, Toyota stops some deliveries

ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA/FILE PHOTO Akio Toyoda, chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, attends a press conference on subsidiary Daihatsu's tampering of safety tests, affecting 88,000 vehicles, in Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2023.  A safety testing scandal at Japanese automakers expanded Monday, with Toyota Motor and Mazda both halting shipments of certain vehicles after Japan's transportation ministry discovered irregularities in applications to certify certain models.

1/1

Swipe or click to see more

ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA/FILE PHOTO

Akio Toyoda, chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, attends a press conference on subsidiary Daihatsu’s tampering of safety tests, affecting 88,000 vehicles, in Bangkok, Thailand, in May 2023. A safety testing scandal at Japanese automakers expanded Monday, with Toyota Motor and Mazda both halting shipments of some vehicles after Japan’s Transport Ministry discovered irregularities in applications to certify certain models.

TOKYO >> The safety testing scandal at Japanese automakers expanded Monday, with Toyota Motor and Mazda both suspending deliveries of certain vehicles after Japan’s transportation ministry discovered irregularities in applications to certify certain models.

The irregularities were also found in applications from Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha Motor, the ministry said. The automakers were found to have submitted incorrect or manipulated safety test data when they applied for certification of the vehicles.

The ministry has ordered Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha to suspend shipments of some vehicles. It said it will conduct an on-site inspection at Toyota’s Aichi Prefecture central headquarters on Tuesday.

The latest revelations came after the ministry in late January asked automakers to investigate certification applications following a safety testing scandal at Toyota’s compact car unit Daihatsu that emerged last year.

Monday’s developments are also likely to increase attention at Toyota’s annual general meeting later this month. Influential proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis have recommended that shareholders vote against the re-election of Akio Toyoda as chairman at the meeting.

In a report to shareholders, ISS highlighted the “wave of certification irregularities” at the Toyota Group.

“As the person responsible for the Toyota Group, I would like to sincerely apologize to our customers, car fans and all stakeholders,” Toyoda, the grandson of the automaker’s founder and its former CEO, told a news conference. .

He said the cars did not go through the proper certification process before being sold. The world’s largest automaker by volume said it has temporarily halted shipments and sales of three Japanese-made car models.

The scandals at the car manufacturers are proving to be a sore point for the government, which is praised by investors and executives for its corporate reforms. Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Japanese government’s top spokesman, called the misconduct “deplorable.”

STOCKS FALL

Toyota said its misconduct occurred during six different tests conducted in 2014, 2015 and 2020. The vehicles involved included three production models – the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross – and discontinued versions of four popular models, including one sold as the Lexus luxury trim. brand.

In one example, it had measured crash damage on one side of a model’s hood, when it should have been done on both sides.

In other cases, it said it had conducted certain tests through developmental testing under stricter conditions than those of the ministry, which did not meet government requirements.

Toyota said it is still investigating issues related to vehicle fuel economy and emissions and aims to complete that investigation by the end of June.

It added that there were no performance issues that breached regulations and customers did not have to stop using their cars.

Toyota shares closed 1.8% lower, underperforming a 0.9% gain in the broader Topix index.

Mazda has suspended deliveries of its Roadster RF sports car and Mazda2 hatchback from Thursday last week after employees were found to have altered engine control software test results, the company said in a statement.

It also found that the crash tests of the Atenza and Axela models, which are no longer in production, had been tampered by using a timer to deploy airbags during some frontal crash tests, rather than relying on an on-board sensor to detect a hit. .

Mazda shares fell 3.3%.

Yamaha said it had stopped shipping a sports motorcycle.

Honda said it discovered misconduct in noise and power tests on about 20 models that are no longer produced over a period of more than eight years until October 2017.


Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Satoshi Sugiyama.