Toyota chief executive Koji Sato bows as he makes the apology. Credit Kyodo News via APToyota chief executive Koji Sato bows as he makes the apology. Credit Kyodo News via AP


Toyota CEO says sorry to car dealers, suppliers and customers for flawed tests of diesel engines

  • Boss of Japanese carmaker apologises for failings at Toyota Industries
  • Results were falsified to say diesel engines met standards when they didn’t
  • It’s the latest in a series of scandals to hit Toyota
  • CEO acknowledges that workers felt under pressure to cut corners
  • Toyota is due to unveil its ‘global vision’ tomorrow

Time 3:22 pm, January 29, 2024

Toyota chief executive Koji Sato said sorry to car dealers, customers and suppliers today for flawed testing at a group company.

The apology came a day before chairman Akio Toyoda was due to announce a ‘global vision’ for the group, and followed a series of similar problems in recent years.

It involved testing at Toyota Industries, which makes diesel engines, that was needed for Japanese government approval.

Fake results were found in certification testing and other sampling inspections for engines that claimed the products met standards when they didn’t, according to Toyota.

Sato said at a hastily called news conference at Toyota’s Tokyo office: ‘We will do our utmost to resume production as soon as possible.

‘Management was not able to fully comprehend and keep track of the details of what was happening on the ground.’

The skirting of required tests surfaced at Daihatsu, which makes small cars and is 100% owned by Toyota. That cheating, which came to light because of a whistleblower, spanned decades.

As reported by Car Dealer last month, Daihatsu suspended shipping all its vehicles in and outside Japan amid a safety scandal.

Meanwhile, in 2022, truck maker Hino Motors, which is a Toyota subsidiary, said it had systematically falsified emissions data, going back as far as 2003.

No major accidents have been reported as having been caused by any of the cheating, but the news has raised questions about oversight at the companies, as well as at Toyota.

Production has stopped for many Toyota group models until proper testing can be carried out, although people who already own the models can carry on driving them safely, said the companies.

Asked about the root causes of the repeated scandals, Sato said better communication was needed among the companies, as well as a more thorough education about the importance of complying with rules.

He also acknowledged that workers were feeling pressurised into cutting corners in an intensely competitive industry.

Toyota management needs to better understand what is happening on the ground as car industry technology rapidly evolves, he said.

‘We recognise that not only people at the testing site but also management did not have proper understanding of certification,’ he added.

The latest problem affects 7,000 vehicles a month in Japan and 36,000 vehicles on a global level, including those sold in Europe. They include the Land Cruiser and Hilux.

Toyota chief executive Koji Sato is pictured at top bowing as he makes the apology. Credit: Kyodo News via AP

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