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Toyota halts some shipments amid growing Japan auto safety scandal

In World
June 03, 2024
This Feb. 14, 2013, file photo shows the Toyota logo on the trunk of a Toyota automobile at the Pittsburgh Auto Show in Pittsburgh. Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda stopped the sale and delivery of some vehicles after Japan’s transport ministry found irregularities in applications to certify certain models amid a growing auto safety scandal.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda stopped the sale and delivery of some vehicles after Japan’s transport ministry found irregularities in applications to certify certain models amid a growing auto safety scandal.

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

The ministry ordered Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha to suspend shipments of the vehicles while it conducts an on-site inspection at Toyota’s headquarters Tuesday. The suspension comes after the ministry asked the automakers in January to investigate certification applications following a safety testing scandal at Toyota’s Daihatsu compact car unit last year.

“As the person in charge of the Toyota Group, I would like to sincerely apologize to our customers, to car fans and all stakeholders for this,” company Chairman Akio Toyoda said at a press conference, per Reuters.

The lapses occurred during six different tests conducted in 2014, 2015 and 2020, affecting the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross, and discontinued versions of four popular models, including one sold under the Lexus luxury brand, according to Toyota. The Yaris Cross, Corolla Axio and Corolla Fielder are no longer being shipped to clients in Japan, per Motor1.com.

According to Toyota, it had measured collision damage on one side of one model’s bonnet while it was required to do so on both sides. In other cases, it said it conducted certain tests that did not meet the government’s requirements. Toyota said it is still investigating issues related to vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions, and intends to complete the inquiry by the end of June, Reuters reported.

Mazda halted shipments of its Roadster RF sports car and the Mazda2 hatchback last week after finding that workers had modified engine control software test results, the company said in a statement. It also found crash tests of the now-discontinued Atenza and Axela models had been tampered with by using a timer to set off airbags during some frontal collision tests, instead of relying on an on-board sensor to detect a crash.

Per Reuters, “The scandals at the automakers are proving to be a sore point for the government, which has otherwise earned praise from investors and executives for its corporate reforms. Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s top government spokesperson, called the misconduct ‘regrettable.’”

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