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

Toyota said both the president and chairman of Daihatsu will step down after the small-car unit was found involved in rigging collision safety tests. The departures are among the most drastic changes Daihatsu has made so far, as Toyota seeks to return the brand to its roots as one of Japan’s most iconic compact car makers.

Related: Daihatsu Scandal is a Warning for Japanese Automakers

The scandal broke when an independent investigation revealed that Daihatsu had faked the side collision data on 64 different models. Vehicles manufactured by Daihatsu on behalf of Toyota, Subaru, and Mazda were also affected. An internal probe followed by a government raid of Daihatsu’s headquarters led to a weekslong suspension of domestic production and a revocation of certification for several models.


Toyota faces a potential hit to its reputation from the safety certification lapses at Daihatsu, as well as separate governance issues at truck maker Hino Motors and affiliate Toyota Industries. Last month, Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda had to issue a rare apology in response to the scandals at the three companies.

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In terms of volume, Daihatsu made up 7% of Toyota’s 11.2 million sales in 2023, which also included Hino Motors and the upscale Lexus brand. The world’s best-selling carmaker announced in a statement that Masahiro Inoue, its chief executive officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, will take Soichiro Okudaira’s place as Daihatsu’s president as of March 1, 2024. Okudaira had worked at Toyota for nearly four decades before becoming president of Daihatsu in 2017, a year after it became a wholly owned Toyota subsidiary. Toyota also stated that Sunao Matsubayashi, the chairman of Daihatsu, will step down and not be replaced.

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According to Toyota CEO Koji Sato, the adjustments are not part of any penalty meted out in retaliation for the Daihatsu safety scandal. But do you really buy that? Sounds more like slapped wrists all around. Sato went on to say:

“For Daihatsu to be reborn as the company it was meant to be, this is what we believe is necessary.”

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Given the misconduct over the safety test certification applications, Daihatsu will also be removed from a commercial vehicle partnership known as the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies (CJPT), the automaker said in a separate statement. According to Masahiro Inoue, who will take the company’s charge on 1st March:

“The rapid expansion of the company caused distortion that was not properly absorbed by the company. I aim to rebuild Daihatsu.”

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