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Daihatsu, Toyota’s small car subsidiary, shuts down factories due to falsified safety tests

Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Japanese car maker Toyota, has shut down production lines at all four of its factories as the Japanese government investigates reports the company faked safety test results on some car models for more than 30 years.

The shutdown came a week after the company announced it was suspending all vehicle shipments in and outside Japan after admitting to improper testing involving 64 models.

That led transport ministry officials to launch a deeper probe into problems that reportedly persisted for decades.

So far there have been no reports of accidents or deaths due to the falsified tests.

The stoppage is expected to affect thousands of auto parts makers and their employees, potentially dealing a blow to local economies across Japan.

It is just the latest number of safety or other violations revealed to have taken place to at least five of Japan’s major automakers in recent years.

The shutdown will reverberate through the economy

Daihatsu, which makes Hijet trucks and vans and Mira hatchbacks, said it started shutting down some production lines on Monday, and production stopped completely at its plants in the Shiga, Kyoto and Oita prefectures, as well as at its headquarters in Osaka, on Tuesday .

The company declined to say when production would resume, but local media reported operations would be suspended at least through January.

White, metal robotic arms work on a row of silver van bodies on a production line.

Daihatsu assembled about 870,000 vehicles in the 2022 fiscal year.(Reuters: Naomi Tajitsu)

Daihatsu is Toyota’s unit specializing in small cars and trucks, which are popular in Japan. It assembled about 870,000 vehicles at its four plants in the 2022 fiscal year.

According to market research company Teikoku Databank, Daihatsu factories have supply chains that include 8,136 companies across Japan, with sales totaling 2.2 trillion yen ($22.6 billion).

“The longer the shipment suspension, the greater the concern about its impact on company earnings, employment and the local economy,” Teikoku Databank said in a report.

Door linings, collision testing in spotlight

The problems were found in 64 models and three vehicle engines, including 22 models and an engine sold by Toyota.

The problems also affected some Mazda and Subaru models sold in Japan, and Toyota and Daihatsu models sold overseas.


Daihatsu’s own internal probe found 174 new cases of irregularities in safety tests and other procedures in 25 test categories, on top of problems it previously knew about.

The issue emerged in April, when the company reported improper testing on door linings. Problems in side collision testing then surfaced in May.

Data falsification and the use of unauthorized testing procedures going back to 1989 were also reported.

Speaking to reporters last week, company president Soichiro Okudaira acknowledged the cheating on safety testing and procedures, saying it was tantamount to neglecting safety certificates entirely.

He attributed the problems to pressure on workers to meet ambitious demands for tight development deadlines.