Japan's Toyota discloses improper crash tests at Daihatsu subsidiary
Toyota has found improper crash tests for a model and suspended shipments, in the latest in a series of embarrassing woes plaguing Japan's top automaker.
The latest problem, disclosed late Friday, affects 56,111 Toyota Raize hybrid vehicles produced by Daihatsu Motor Co., a manufacturer specializing in small models that is wholly owned by Toyota.
It also affects 22,329 vehicles sold as the Daihatsu Rocky, according to the automakers. The vehicles were all sold in Japan.
In the faulty crash tests, results for a pole used to measure impact on the left side were used for the right, when both sides had to be tested, Daihatsu said.
Just a week ago, Toyota Motor Corp. acknowledged there had been a data breach at its online Connected service, run by a group company. The breach spanned a decade, meaning that drivers' information on more than 2 million vehicles had been at risk for leaks. No breaches were reported.
Last month, a separate crash test problem for Daihatsu models sold abroad was disclosed, affecting 88,123 vehicles. A further review found wrongdoing in the Japan market as well, according to the automakers.
The earlier problem affected the Toyota Yaris ATIV sold in Thailand, Mexico and some Gulf countries, Perodua Axia sold in Malaysia and Toyota Agya in Ecuador.
Daihatsu apologized at that time and set up a third-party team to investigate. It did not issue a recall, noting the vehicles were safe to drive, but it expressed deep remorse it had violated inspection standards.
The Toyota models were supplied by Daihatsu under the OEM system, common in the industry, in which products manufactured by another company get sold with another nameplate.
Toyota, which sells about 10 million vehicles every year, boasts a record for pristine quality, centered around a production system that empowers the individual worker.
The latest problems don't involve recalls. But Toyota went through a period of announcing recall after recall over several years more than a decade ago, covering a wide range of defects, including faulty floor mats, sticky gas pedals and glitches in braking software, affecting millions of vehicles.
The recall fiasco in 2009 and 2010 had Toyota paying $48.8 million in fines in the U.S. for its slow response. Toyota officials have repeatedly promised to be quicker and more transparent.
Management has renewed its "commitment to manufacturing with integrity," the company based in Toyota city, central Japan, said in its latest statement.
"All our group companies, including Toyota, have begun a thorough review to work toward a complete reaffirmation of our governance system. We will work with Daihatsu to tackle this issue," it said.
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