Toyota and Others Once Again Caught in Testing Scandal

Toyota, still reeling from a rash of misconduct at group companies, is embroiled in a new scandal and will halt sales of a few of its models in the home market after the automaker found that it had conducted inadequate vehicle verification, including for safety tests.

According to the announcement made by  Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, in addition to Toyota, other automakers including Mazda, Honda, and Suzuki, and motorcycle maker Yamaha will temporarily suspend shipments of nearly 8 models (combined).

Related: Toyota Says President, Chairman of Scandal-Hit Daihatsu to Step Down

In response to previous problems at Daihatsu Motor and Toyota Industries, the ministry ordered 85 companies in the industry – including car and equipment makers – to investigate whether there had been any irregularities in their model certification applications. The ministry will conduct an on-site inspection of Toyota this week whereas inspections of the other four companies to be followed thereafter.

In a statement, the ministry called the irregularities “actions that undermine users’ trust and shake the foundation of the [national] automotive certification system.” According to the ministry, Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha confirmed cheating has taken place in the production of vehicles still being made. The ministry ordered these companies to suspend shipments of specific models until it confirms they meet quality standards.

Related: Toyota Industries Investor Blames Group’s ‘Broken Culture’ for Data Scandals

Therefore Toyota has stopped domestic shipments and sales of the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross. It said these models’ certification applications have “inadequate data in pedestrian and occupant protection tests.” Four other models, no longer being produced, are also mentioned in Toyota’s announcement: the Crown, Isis, Sienta and RX, with which “errors in crash tests and other test methods” were found.

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Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda who apologized while speaking at a news conference, said:

“I would like to extend my sincere apologies to our customers, car enthusiasts, and all stakeholders. I have a very unfortunate feeling,. Toyota is not a perfect company. We have been able to recognize that there is still more room for improvement.”

According to Toyota, it used data collected in the development process – which the company says was under a stricter condition than the ministry’s requirement – and, as a result, did not match the requirement correctly. It plans to submit its complete report on this matter to the ministry by end of this month. The irregularities came out after its group companies Hino Motors, Daihatsu Motor and Toyota Industries reported similar problems.

According to the ministry, Mazda reported irregularities for 5 models, including two that remain in production. Yamaha Motor has three models for which it discovered irregularities, one still in production. Honda has reported 22 models and Suzuki one; none of these remains in production.

Related: Suzuki Refuses to Share Swift and Jimny with Toyota

Mazda said it found irregular processing of test vehicles in crash tests regarding three models no longer in production. The company said in-house technical verification and re-tests “confirmed that these models have the performance that meets the legal standards for occupant protection performance in the event of a frontal collision.”

Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki also issued statements assuring drivers there are no problems with their vehicles’ performance.

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