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Japan auto safety scandal widens, Toyota halts some shipments

Published June 3, 2024 at 10:21
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Toyota faces shipment halts amid widening auto safety scandal

A scandal involving safety test irregularities has led to Toyota and other Japanese automakers halting shipments of several models.
A widening scandal in Japan's auto industry has brought significant scrutiny to major automakers like Toyota and Mazda. Following revelations of irregularities in safety test data, Japan's transport ministry ordered the suspension of vehicle shipments.

Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha are all implicated in the scandal. They were found to have manipulated safety test data to certify certain vehicle models. The ministry has mandated that Toyota, Mazda, and Yamaha halt shipments of specific vehicles and will conduct an on-site inspection at Toyota's headquarters in Aichi prefecture.

The scandal erupted after the transport ministry requested an investigation into certification applications in January. This came after similar issues were uncovered at Toyota's Daihatsu unit the previous year.


"As the person in charge of the Toyota Group, I would like to sincerely apologise to our customers, to car fans, and all stakeholders for this," said Akio Toyoda, chairman of Toyota and grandson of the company's founder. He expressed regret over the failure to follow proper certification processes and acknowledged that shipments and sales of three models have been temporarily halted.

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The irregularities have not only impacted Toyota but also Mazda, which suspended shipments of its Roadster RF and Mazda2 hatchback models. Mazda found that engine control software test results were tampered with and crash tests were manipulated using a timer to deploy airbags prematurely. Mazda shares dropped 3.3% following the announcement.

Honda's wrongdoing included falsifying noise and output tests over an eight-year period, affecting over two dozen models no longer in production. Yamaha has also halted shipments of a sports motorcycle due to the scandal.

"This misconduct is regrettable," said Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan's top government spokesperson, reflecting the broader disappointment within the government, which has been lauded for its corporate reforms.

The scandal has significant implications for Toyota's upcoming annual general meeting, where proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis have recommended shareholders vote against re-electing Akio Toyoda as chairman.

Toyota continues to investigate related issues concerning vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions, aiming to complete this inquiry by the end of June. Despite the scandal, Toyota asserts that there are no performance issues violating regulations and customers do not need to stop using their cars.

Toyota's shares fell 1.8%, underperforming the Topix index, which saw a 0.9% gain. The unfolding scandal marks a challenging period for Japan's auto industry, with companies facing increased scrutiny and a loss of investor confidence.

Credit: Autonews
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Japan auto safety scandal widens, Toyota halts some shipments

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