Asian Automakers Under Scrutiny For Falsifying Safety Certification

Toyota, Honda , Mazda, Yamaha and Suzuki are accused of conducting or submitting falsified certification testing data for 38 models.

“The ministry ordered Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha to suspend shipments of some vehicles,” according to Reuters. "The latest revelations came after the ministry requested automakers in late January to investigate certification applications following a safety test scandal at Toyota's Daihatsu compact car unit that emerged last year.”

The BBC and other news organizations characterized the government’s visits to the automaker as a raid. The visits come a day after Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda apologized to customers.



"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," Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota’s founder and its former chief executive, said at a press conference.

He bowed deeply and held the position for a few seconds, which is customary in Japan when companies apologize for wrongdoing, according to the BBC.

"We neglected the certification process and mass produced our cars without first taking the proper precautionary steps,” Toyoda said.

No cars have been recalled and no operational safety warnings have been issued. Toyota said there were no performance issues that violated regulations and customers do not need to stop using their cars.

“The findings follow an earlier order by the government for almost 90 manufacturers to reexamine their testing procedures after decades of fraud were uncovered at a pair of Toyota affiliates last year,” according to Bloomberg. “While the disclosures are the latest blow for Toyota and Japan’s automakers, their shares remain up this year. The latest round didn’t include any cars being recalled or warnings over operational safety.”

Toyota said its wrongdoing occurred during six different tests conducted in 2014, 2015, and 2020. Affected vehicles were three production models — the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross — and discontinued versions of four popular models, including one from Lexus, the automaker’s luxury brand. 

“In one example, it had measured collision damage on one side of a model's bonnet while it was required to do so on both sides,” according to Reuters. “In other instances, it said it conducted certain tests through development testing under more strict conditions than those set out by the ministry that did not meet the government's requirements.”

Honda said it found wrongdoing on tests related to noise and engine power, but also said vehicles are safe to drive. Mazda has halted the shipments of some cars and said it will bear the cost to its suppliers, according to the BBC. However, the company added that it is not planning on issuing recalls.

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