‘We Sincerely Apologize:’ Toyota Acknowledges Wrongdoing in Additional Safety Tests and Halts Production of Three Models

  • The Japanese manufacturer is involved in a scandal for committing fraud on vehicle certification tests.

  • Toyota has suspended production of the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross models in Japan.

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“I would like to sincerely apologize to our customers, to car fans, and all stakeholders for this.” That's is what Toyota president Akio Toyoda told reporters on Monday in Tokyo when he publicly took responsibility for the scandal, which involved the company committing fraud on vehicle certification tests. The scandal has tarnished the Japanese company's reputation over the last few months.

The executive’s statement coincided with a new partial shutdown at Toyota’s plants in Japan. The company announced a temporary suspension of production for the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, and Yaris Cross in response to the action taken by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Toyota’s Certification Test Scandal

As reported by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, the irregularities involved seven Toyota models, although four of them were already out of production. Authorities  stated that the company would suspend shipments of these models until it’s confirmed that they meet all national standards for circulation. It’s important to note, though, that this scenario doesn’t affect vehicles in the U.S. or other markets.

Despite the recent measures, Toyota car owners will be able to continue using them normally. The company hasn’t issued any recall notices and even assures that there are no safety or performance issues. However, the Minister of Transport, Tetsuo Saito, described the situation as “regrettable” and added that it “undermine[s] the confidence of users.”

Toyota 1 The Toyota Corolla Axio.

Certification is crucial for vehicles to be released on the market. In Toyota’s case, the certification issues include the use of inadequate or outdated crash test data, incorrect airbag function tests, and damage to rear seats during crashes. Authorities also found irregularities in engine power tests.

Toyota 2 Toyota Yaris Cross

However, current Japanese regulations require automotive manufacturers to carry out several procedures during car development. According to analysts consulted by the Japanese newspaper The Mainichi, this process can extend the time needed to develop a car. Consequently, it can lead to a decrease in competitiveness, especially in comparison to Chinese options.

The Mainichi report also highlights that Japanese manufacturers typically need about five years to develop a new model, while the Asian giant can accomplish this in just one year. The rapid changes in the industry may be one factor causing manufacturers to make mistakes.

This issue involves not only Toyota but also other companies like Mazda and Honda, which all face similar problems and have had to halt production of certain models. It remains to be seen how this situation will unfold in the near future.

Image | Toyota [1, 2, 3]

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