Japan’s transport authorities on Tuesday raided a Toyota-affiliated factory after the company admitted to falsifying its engine tests, while Toyota Motor Corp. reported sales of more than 11 million vehicles in 2023 that keep it the world’s top automaker.
Hours after the start of the investigation at Toyota Industries Corp.’s Hekinan plant in Aichi Prefecture, the company’s president, Akio Toyoda, vowed to extricate the company from the scandal and ensure that the group’s firms are limited to “making good cars.”
“My job is to set the path for the whole group to follow,” Toyoda said.
He apologized by taking a deep bow and stressed that the group’s vision was rooted in the founding Toyoda family’s ideas of empowering “genba,” or plant workers, “to make good cars that lead to people’s happiness.”
The testing scandal coincides with a time of stellar results for the group, which produces the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid models and Lexus luxury cars. The group’s global sales in 2023 reached a record 11.22 million cars, up 7% from the previous year, and surpassed those of Germany’s Volkswagen AG, which marketed a total of 9.2 million vehicles.
In April, a whistleblower uncovered that Daihatsu Motor Corp, a Toyota company that makes small cars, had been fudging its tests for decades. In 2022, Hino Motors, a truck maker that is also integrated into the group, said it had systematically falsified emissions data from at least 2003.
Although no serious accidents related to this scandal have been reported, production of some of the models, including the 10 affected in the latest fraud, has been halted. These include the Land Cruiser and Hilux, sport utility vehicles sold in Japan, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
In an unrelated problem, Toyota and General Motors Co. asked owners of about 61,000 older Corolla, Matrix, RAV4 and Pontiac Vibe models, mostly in the United States, to stop driving them because their Takata airbag inflators could explode and spew fragments.