Toyota Daihatsu Halts Vehicle Shipments Amid Expanding Safety Controversy

Toyota Motor’s Daihatsu unit will halt shipments of all of its vehicles, Japan’s biggest automaker said on Wednesday, after an investigation into a safety scandal found issues at 64 models, including almost two dozen sold under Toyota’s brand. The issue relates to rigged side-collision safety tests for 88,000 small cars, most sold as Toyotas. The rigging discovered in the probe expanded to door components and other aspects of tests, making the overall scope of the problem much more significant than initially thought, media reports say.

According to the Asahi newspaper and other Japanese media, an independent panel set up to investigate the matter has already uncovered new issues with tests for the cars. It is expected to report its findings to the transport ministry on Wednesday. Daihatsu, a unit that produces a range of so-called “kei” small cars popular in Japan, will also hold a news conference later on Wednesday to outline production plans moving forward.

The independent panel’s preliminary findings show that test irregularities occurred in 174 aspects of the crash testing process. This was in addition to the alleged irregularities found in April and May related to side-collision tests, for which Daihatsu admitted to having manipulated results. The independent panel has also found that Daihatsu’s managers were under extreme pressure due to an aggressive development schedule, and their lack of experience and expertise made it easy for them to commit violations, the report said.

Among the affected models are two hybrid cars that Daihatsu has halted production of for overseas sales, the Rocky and Raize SUVs, and the Hijet and Cuore minicars sold in Japan under the Toyota name. The rigged tests involved 88,000 cars, with most sold in Thailand and Malaysia and some in Central and South America.

An engine data scandal at Toyota’s truck-making unit, Hino Motors Ltd, in 2022 led to resignations and temporary pay cuts for some managers. The company has since reformed its business practices and overhauled its management team.

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