Toyota unit Daihatsu to suspend shipments of all models over safety issues

Daihatsu Motors' logos are pictured at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo, Japan October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/file photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Toyota Motor Corporation’s unit Daihatsu Motor Co Ltd has decided to temporarily suspend shipments of all Daihatsu-developed models currently in production, both in Japan and overseas following findings of new irregularities.

The group said Daihatsu had commissioned an investigation by an independent third-party committee regarding procedural irregularities and found new irregularities in 174 items within 25 test categories, in addition to the door lining irregularity in April and the side collision test irregularity in May.

It said in a statement today that these encompassed a total of 64 models and three engines of vehicles from the total of models currently being produced, developed or ceased in production, including 22 models and one engine being sold by Toyota.

"We would like to express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and concern this has caused to all stakeholders, including customers.

"In response to these findings, Besides Daihatsu Toyota has also decided to temporarily suspend shipments of the affected models,” it said.

In response, the group said Daihatsu has been conducting one-by-one in-house technical verifications and actual vehicle testing for these vehicles to ensure that their safety and environmental performance meet legal standards.

The group also noted that in the final stage of the investigation, it was discovered that a different airbag control unit (ECU) from the mass-production model was used for the airbag tests for Daihatsu Move / Subaru Stella, Daihatsu Cast / Toyota Pixis Joy, Daihatsu Gran Max / Toyota Town Ace / Mazda Bongo.

"Although technical verification confirmed that the airbag met standards of occupant protection performance, in the course of testing, it was found that the "safety performance standard for occupant evacuation (unlocking)" in the side collision test of Daihatsu Cast / Toyota Pixis Joy may not comply with the law.

"At this time, we are not aware of any accident information related to this matter but we are conducting thorough technical verification and investigating the cause to take necessary measures as soon as possible,” the group said.

For other cases, the group had confirmed that the performance standards specified by the regulations are met and the validity of the verification results and process has also been confirmed by TUV Rheinland Japan (TRJ), a third-party certification organisation, it noted.

Toyota also shared that certification consists of having the national authorities inspect and confirm that vehicles meet various standards so that customers can drive their vehicles with peace of mind.

"We consider certification to be a major prerequisite for doing business as an automobile manufacturer. We recognise the extreme gravity of the fact that Daihatsu's neglect of the certification process has shaken the very foundations of the company as an automobile manufacturer,” it said.

Toyota said that since 2013, it has been increasing the number of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) models it receives from other companies, mainly compact vehicles and deeply regret that the development of these vehicles may have been a burden on Daihatsu and that the group was not aware of the situation with the company's certification operations.

"Daihatsu has informed us that, going forward, it will clarify the situation with the authorities and take appropriate action under their guidance. It will also thoroughly investigate whether there have been any other similar cases to ensure customer safety first and foremost. We at Toyota will also fully cooperate with this investigation,” the group said.

Toyota said that in order to prevent a recurrence, in addition to a review of certification operations, a fundamental reform is needed to revitalise Daihatsu as a company.

"This will be an extremely significant task that cannot be accomplished overnight. It will require not only a review of management and business operations but also a review of the organisation and structure, as well as a change in human resource development and awareness of each and every employee.

"Toyota will provide our full support to Daihatsu's revitalisation so that it can return to its roots as the "compact mobility company" that Toyota and Daihatsu are striving for it to be, as well as regain the trust of all stakeholders,” it added. - Bernama

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