Toyota raided as safety testing scandal grows

By Annabelle Liang, Business reporter for BBC News

Japan’s transport ministry raided the headquarters of motor giant Toyota on Tuesday, as a scandal over faulty safety data escalated.

The world’s largest carmaker has apologised for providing incorrect or manipulated data for safety certification tests.

The scandal has shaken the Japanese car industry, with rivals Honda, Mazda and Suzuki also admitting to submitting faulty data.

Toyota sold more than 11 million passenger vehicles in 2023.

It has said the findings do not affect the safety of vehicles already on the road.

Officials from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism enter Toyota Motor Corp.'s headquarters for an inspection in Toyota City, Aichi prefecture on June 4, 2024. Japanese transport officials inspected Toyota's headquarters June 4 after the top-selling automaker and four others including Honda and Mazda admitted failure to fully comply with national vehicle inspection standards. (Photo by JIJI Press / AFP) / Japan OUT

The company has suspended the production of three car models – the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross.

It has also been accused of using modified vehicles during safety collision tests, for vehicles that are no longer in production.

The raids come a day after Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda apologised to customers and car enthusiasts.

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

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

Toyota Motor Corporation Board Chairman Akio Toyoda bows during a press conference in Tokyo on June 3, 2024. Toyota said on June 3 it had suspended domestic shipments of three car models after falling foul of government certification rules along with its Japanese rivals Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and Yamaha.

Japanese carmakers Honda, Mazda and Suzuki are also due to be inspected by the authorities over the same issue.

Honda said it found wrongdoing on tests related to noise and engine power, but it has stressed that its vehicles are safe to drive.

Mazda has halted the shipments of some cars and said it will bear the cost to its suppliers.

However, the company added that it was not planning on issuing recalls.

The findings also apply to one Suzuki car model that is no longer being produced.

Last December, Toyota-owned carmaker Daihatsu closed all of its factories for more than a month, after admitting that it had falsified safety tests.

Some of the cars were sold with Toyota branding.

Daihatsu compensated more than 400 domestic suppliers during the period where its plants were idle.

This story was first published by the BBC.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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