Toyota hit by rigged testing scandal, consecutive safety recalls
About a million vehicles in the U.S. will be recalled over airbag safety concerns in the Camry, Corolla, and Highlander lines, as well as Lexus vehicles
Japanese officials on Thursday visited Daihatsu’s headquarters, a subsidiary of automotive giant Toyota, amid a rigged safety test scandal spanning as far back as 1989, causing all domestic and overseas shipments to be suspended.
Alongside the scandal at its subsidiary, Toyota itself has carried out two consecutive recalls of their most well known car models, starting with a RAV4 issue announced in November, and the latest involving the Camry, Corolla, and Highlander lines.
As such, the shares in the Japanese auto titan Toyota took a dive on Thursday, with about a million vehicles in the United States that will be recalled over airbag safety concerns and another 1.9 million RAV4s for a battery issue that could cause a fire.
Among the list of vehicles in the latest recall were also Toyota’s Lexus vehicles. Concerns arose from sensors in the front passenger seat, which "could have been improperly manufactured, causing a short circuit.”
"This would not allow the airbag system to properly classify the occupant's weight, and the airbag may not deploy as designed in certain crashes, increasing the risk of injury," the official statement explained, saying affected customers will be contacted by mid-Februray.
As for the Daihatsu manipulated safety tests, Toyota expressed its "sincere apologies" and pledged to carry out "a fundamental reform" in light of the findings, which were revealed in the probe following a safety scandal that emerged in April.
The latest probe "found new irregularities in 174 items within 25 test categories" in addition to wrongdoing previously detected in April and May involving door parts and side-collision tests, Toyota said after the report was released.
"We began on-site inspection to find out if the report submitted by Daihatsu (on Wednesday) is true and if there is any other wrongdoing," Japanese transport ministry official Nobuhito Kiuchi told AFP.
"Before issuing administrative orders (as punishment), we have to find out facts around the issue," he said, noting that the on-site inspection will continue until at least early next year.