Japanese Automakers Admit to Safety Testing Fraud

In light of the recent Daihatsu safety testing scandal, Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has extended its investigation into other domestic automakers dating back to 2014. This probe has uncovered fraudulent conduct in type approval applications by major players including Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Suzuki. Consequently, these companies have been compelled to suspend production, shipment, and sales of the affected models.

Toyota’s Safety Testing Misconduct

Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker, admitted to submitting falsified data in pedestrian and occupant safety tests for current models such as the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, and Yaris Cross. Additionally, internal audits revealed tampered crash tests for discontinued models including the Crown, Isis, Sienta, and Lexus RX. Despite these infractions, Toyota asserts that its internal checks have verified compliance with all safety regulations, indicating no immediate action is required from vehicle owners.

Mazda’s Engine and Crash Test Alterations

Mazda revealed that the engine control software of the MX-5 RF roadster and the Mazda2 subcompact hatchback had been altered during official output testing. Furthermore, improper modifications were made to crash test vehicles of the discontinued Atenza/Mazda6 and Axela models. Nevertheless, Mazda confirmed that these production models still meet safety standards.

Honda’s Noise Test Fabrications

Honda’s internal investigation identified falsified noise test results for 22 discontinued models, including the Inspire, Fit, Fit Shuttle, CR-Z, Acty, Vamos, Stepwgn, Legend, Accord, Insight, CR-V, Freed, N-Box, Odyssey, Vezel, Grace, S660, Jade, and NSX.

Suzuki’s Brake Testing Fraud

Suzuki admitted to fraudulent testing for the LCV version of the previous-generation Alto, produced between 2014 and 2017. The company found that the listed stopping distance in brake fading tests was shorter than actual measurements due to insufficient brake pedal pressure during testing, leading to manipulated results to meet legal standards.

Government Response and Future Actions

Japanese authorities will now conduct on-site investigations at the facilities of the implicated automakers to verify compliance with regulations. These companies are also mandated to assist affected owners and provide necessary information. The ongoing situation has disrupted the production, shipment, and sales of the implicated models in Japan and globally. The timeline for resolving these compliance issues and determining appropriate penalties remains uncertain, as authorities work to address these widespread fraudulent practices.

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