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Toyota, Honda, Mazda and others exposed to violations, some models suspended from shipment

On June 3, Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced that five companies - Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Suzuki, and Yamaha - had submitted violation reports admitting to misconduct in vehicle performance testing and other areas. Among them, Toyota is involved in 7 models, Honda 22, Mazda 5, Yamaha 3, Suzuki also has a car involved in the storm.

Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) said it has instructed Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha to suspend shipments of some cars and motorcycles under production and asked the companies concerned to give detailed explanations to consumers. In the future, serious actions will be taken based on relevant regulations in conjunction with on-site inspections and related results. So far, the companies that have been asked to suspend shipments are six models from Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha.

01 Violations extend to Toyota headquarters

It is reported that, according to the request of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, the report submitted by the above five companies is “Improper Behavior at the Time of Type Designation Application”. The so-called type designation system (TDS) is similar to China's automobile product access announcement certification, where automobiles, engines, and other products can be sold only after passing the type designation.

In light of the previous scandals of emission falsification and certification violations by Daihatsu, Hino and other companies, on January 26 this year, Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) instructed 85 automobile manufacturers, importers, and equipment makers to launch internal investigations to confirm the existence of violations, and to submit a report thereafter. By the end of May, a total of 68 companies had completed their investigations. Among them, five companies submitted reports on violations, namely Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and Yamaha.

On the same day that Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism released the notification, the relevant companies also released statements to the public one by one. Specifically, Toyota's announcement showed that the company's application for certification of its models is still under investigation, but it has confirmed that the testing methods of seven models do not comply with government standards. These involve three models still in mass production, the Corolla Fielder/Axio, and the Yaris Cross, which have falsified pedestrian and occupant protection test data, and which, as of June 3, will cease shipments and sales. There are also four models that have been discontinued, the Crown, Isis, Sienta, and RX, which were subjected to erroneous crash tests and other test methods.

This investigation also shows that the irregularities extend to Toyota's headquarters. Prior to this, the exposure was mainly to its subsidiaries and affiliates, including Hino, Daihatsu and Toyota Auto Loom. Among them, Hino Motors was previously exposed to an emissions falsification scandal that affected Toyota. Daihatsu Industries also admitted at the end of last year that 174 irregularities were found in tests of 64 models, including those made on behalf of Toyota, Mazda and Subaru. Toyota Auto Loom, for its part, admitted at the end of January this year that there were irregularities in certification testing of 14 models of engines for industrial and automotive use, affecting Toyota, Hino and Mazda.

Notably, Toyota apologized in the announcement, but stressed that the vehicles in question did not have performance problems that violated laws and regulations, so there was no need for users to stop using them. At a press conference held in Tokyo on the same day, Akio Toyoda, as chairman, appeared to apologize.

02 Emphasizes No Worries About Vehicle Performance

Honda similarly apologized for the certification violations, acknowledging that 22 previously sold models were subject to improper certification testing, affecting more than 3 million vehicles. However, like Toyota, Honda also said that it had conducted internal technical verification and actual vehicle testing, and that the performance of the vehicles involved still complied with domestic and international legal standards, and that users could continue to use them without taking any measures.

Honda President Toshihiro Mibe (center)

As for Mazda, there were a total of five violations in two test categories involving two on-sale models and three discontinued models, affecting about 150,000 vehicles. The two vehicles on sale, the MX5 RF and the Mazda2, stopped shipping on May 30th. Mazda also responded quickly to the Japanese government's notification, holding an emergency press conference and publicly apologizing.

Overall, the response of the above Japanese companies are quite similar, in the government issued a circular immediately after the response, official website statement and apologize, offline press conference to apologize, but also stressed that, despite the violation, but the performance of the vehicle is not a problem, as for the “recall” of the word is not mentioned by a company. Next, it depends on the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism for the five companies in-depth investigation will have what kind of results, whether the scope of violations will be further expanded, let's wait and see.

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