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Toyota subsidiary stops production after admitting to decades of safety test cheating

By Jake Beardslee · December 30, 2023

In brief…

  • An investigation found 174 new cases of data tampering and testing irregularities dating back to 1989.
  • The shutdown impacts 9,000 Daihatsu employees and over 8,000 supply chain companies.
  • Toyota has promised a full review and reform to address the longstanding issues.
  • Daihatsu's sales amount to around $15.53 billion annually.
Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu has halted all production in Japan after decades of safety testing manipulation were uncovered, impacting thousands of workers and supply chains.  Tokumeigakarinoaoshima/Wikimedia

Daihatsu, the Japanese automaker owned by Toyota, has halted production at all of its factories in Japan this week, according to The Associated Press. This shutdown comes after Daihatsu admitted last April to violating safety testing standards on over 88,000 vehicles sold mainly under the Toyota brand in Thailand and Malaysia.

An independent investigation released last week revealed even more widespread issues, finding a total of 174 new cases of irregularities in testing protocols. According to the report, some instances of tampering with safety tests and falsifying data go back as far as 1989.

Daihatsu said it shut down production lines beginning on Monday before halting operations at all four of its Japanese plants in Shiga, Kyoto and Oita prefectures, along with headquarters in Osaka on Tuesday. The length of the production suspension remains unclear, but a Daihatsu spokesperson indicated it could last through January.

The shutdown will impact approximately 9,000 Daihatsu employees involved in domestic manufacturing, according to CNN. Daihatsu has supply chain relationships with over 8,000 other Japanese companies. Total company sales amount to around $15.53 billion, per market research firm Teikoku Databank.

After the latest investigation’s findings prompted the start of on-site inspections by Japan’s Transport Ministry last week, Daihatsu announced the production halt. Toyota, which fully owns Daihatsu, apologized for the “inconvenience and concern” caused by the scandal and promised a full review of its certification processes.

“We believe in order to prevent recurrence, in addition to a review of certification operations, a fundamental reform is needed to revitalize Daihatsu as a company,” Toyota said in a statement. “Toyota will provide our full support to Daihatsu’s revitalization so that it can return to its roots.”