Scandal in Japan: Justice raids a Toyota factory and interrogates workers for emissions fraud

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The Japanese Ministry of Transport today sent a team to a factory of Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO), a subsidiary of the automotive giant Toyotaas part of the investigation into irregularities in the emissions and power tests of several engines installed in a dozen of its vehicles.

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The team moved this Tuesday to the TICO factory in the city of Hekinan, in the center of the country, where He was questioning employees to get to the bottom of the fraud in testing to obtain the certification needed to produce and market its engines, as detailed by public broadcaster NHK.

These irregularities “are extremely regrettable because they undermine the confidence of users of industrial machinery and automobiles. They also shake the foundations of the automotive certification system,” Japanese Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito said today.

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Saito assured that the government will take appropriate measures based on the results of the investigation into his portfolio.

The Toyota group announced the day before the discovery of irregularities in TICO, which jeopardize the certification tests of an engine for industrial machines already power tests of three diesel engines installed on different vehicles, specifically in ten of its models.

The Toyota Hilux is one of the affected models.

Among them there are vehicles widely known in Argentina, such as the Hilux pick-up and the SW4 SUV, which are produced in Zárate. Models such as the Hiace, Land Cruiser Prado and Land Cruiser 300 also appear.

consulted by Clarionthe local branch of the brand clarified that “this problem does not affect any vehicle produced and/or marketed in Argentina”.

And they added that “this issue is related to irregularities in the certification process according to the local requirements of some countries, but they have no impact on the actual power, torque or other values ​​related to the vehicle’s powertrain. Furthermore, “These irregularities do not compromise emissions or vehicle safety.”

Toyota has Global engine and model shipments temporarily suspended are equipped with them, as well as production on six lines in four of its national factories until February 1, although in subsequent additional tests it has verified that all meet legal standards and that their use does not pose any danger.

How he cheated

The irregularities consisted in the fact that during certification tests, TICO measured the power performance of the engine using different software than that used in mass production, obtaining results that showed less variation.

Toyota executives, during the presentation to the press.  Photo: AFPToyota executives, during the presentation to the press. Photo: AFP

The Toyota group has been affected by a series of cases of irregularities in vehicle quality controls. The most recent was that of its micro vehicle subsidiary Daihatsu, which crippled its global shipments after safety or emissions tests of most of its models were found to have been manipulated.

In March 2022, another of its subsidiaries, Hino Motors, admitted to submitting fraudulent emissions and fuel economy data to Japanese authorities.

In light of these revelations, the former president of Toyota and current honorary president of the group, Akio Toyodaappeared at a press conference today to apologize for what happened and assure that the conglomerate (now made up of 17 companies) will take measures to return to the path and vision it appears to have asked for.

“What I need to do now is to show the direction the group should take and create a place for the next generations,” Toyoda said, calling on group companies to address glaring governance problems and prevent them from happening again.

Complaints with record year

The appearance of Japanese justice at the Toyota plant occurs on the same day that the company is known was once again the best-selling car manufacturer in the world.

During 2023 it sold more than 11.2 million vehicles worldwide for all its brands, which represents a new annual record for the industry leader.

The figure, which includes sales of Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino, reflects a progression of 7.2% compared to 2022.

Toyota is relegated to electrified models but dominates in hybrids.Toyota is relegated to electrified models but dominates in hybrids.

In 2020, Toyota regained the symbolic title of world sales leader in the automotive sector from the German group Volkswagen, which last year was in second position with 9.24 million vehicles sold.

The Japanese manufacturer is still behind in the 100% electric vehicle segment, with only 104,018 such vehicles marketed in 2023.

The figure quadrupled from the previous year, but is tiny compared to industry benchmarks such as America’s Tesla (1.81 million) or China’s BYD (1.57 million).

For now, Toyota offsets this weakness with the dynamism of the hybrid vehicle market, with more than 3.4 million units sold in 2023, representing a 31.4% year-over-year increase.

Source: Clarin

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