Aviation Safety

Japan's Auto Industry Rocked by Safety Testing Scandal

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Japan's Auto Industry Faces Safety Testing Scandal

Japan's transport ministry has uncovered widespread misconduct in safety testing procedures among some of the country's leading automakers. Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Yamaha have all admitted to submitting incorrect or manipulated data during vehicle certification applications.

The ministry's investigation was prompted by a previous scandal involving Toyota's Daihatsu compact car unit, which resulted in factory closures. The latest revelations have led to the suspension of vehicle shipments by the affected companies.

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, has acknowledged wrongdoing in six different tests conducted between 2014 and 2020. The affected vehicles include the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, and Yaris Cross, as well as discontinued versions of four popular models. The company has suspended production of the three current models in Japan but insists that the safety of vehicles already on the road is not compromised.

Mazda has also halted shipments of two models, the Roadster RF sports car and the Mazda2 hatchback, after discovering that workers had modified engine control software test results. Additionally, crash tests on two discontinued models were found to have been tampered with.

Honda has admitted to irregularities in noise and output tests conducted on two dozen discontinued models over an eight-year period. Yamaha has also halted shipments of a sports motorcycle due to similar issues.

The scandals have sparked concerns about the integrity of Japan's auto industry and its commitment to safety. The government is facing criticism for its handling of the situation, particularly its praise for corporate reforms in the face of these revelations.

The annual general meeting of Toyota later this month is likely to be a focal point for scrutiny, with influential proxy advisory firms recommending shareholders vote against the re-election of Akio Toyoda as chairman.

The scandals are a major setback for Japan's auto industry, which has traditionally enjoyed a reputation for quality and reliability. The companies involved are facing investigations and potential penalties, and the long-term impact on consumer trust remains to be seen.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09