In side-collision safety tests for over 88,000 small cars, the majority of which were sold under the Toyota brand, Daihatsu, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp, rigged part of the door, the companies said in a statement to Reuters yesterday.
According to them, the door trim on the affected vehicles had been altered with a “notch” to reduce the chance that the door inside could break with a sharp edge and hurt an occupant during testing when the side airbag deployed.
The company said the alteration used for testing was not included in the final product. Akio Toyoda, chairman of Toyota, expressed regret for what he called an “unacceptable” breach of consumer trust and said the businesses were looking into how the side panels of the Yaris and other vehicles had been altered for safety testing.
So far, there are no reports of accidents or injuries related to the rigged side-crash test. Who had modified the doors for crash testing, how widely known the operation had been within Daihatsu, and if senior managers had given their approval were all questions that remained unanswered at the time.
“We’ll proceed with a detailed investigation from here on, but promise to decisively understand what happened at the site, investigate the true intentions and sincerely work to prevent a recurrence. We’re going to need some time to do that,” said Toyoda.
Daihatsu claimed to have learned of the fabricated safety test via a whistleblower complaint. It said that it has informed regulatory bodies of the problem and halted shipping of the impacted models.
Toyota Yaris Ativs made in Thailand starting in August of last year and Perodua Axias made in Malaysia starting in February are among the vehicles that are affected. Around 76,000 of the 88,000-plus vehicles were Yaris models, mostly going to Thailand, Mexico, and Gulf Cooperation Council nations, according to Daihatsu.