Akio Toyoda, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corp, expressed deep apologies to customers at a news conference held at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya on January 30th. This apology addressed a series of scandals involving falsified testing data within Toyota's group companies, causing inconvenience and anxiety among their clientele.
Toyoda emphasized the company's commitment to upholding the 'right' manufacturing practices and becoming a Toyota group that would remain relevant and necessary in the future. This statement came on the heels of Toyota Industries Corp's announcement regarding flawed testing of diesel engines produced for Toyota passenger vehicles, including the popular Land Cruiser 300 SUV.
Toyota subsidiaries, Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co., have also been implicated in testing irregularities in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Toyoda acknowledged a previous crisis faced by Toyota in 2009 and 2010, where the automaker was forced to recall millions of vehicles in North America and Japan.
He attributed this to the company prioritizing expansion of scale, resulting in a loss of focus on important values and principles. Toyoda pointed out that this issue extended beyond Toyota, as other group companies had encountered similar challenges.
Hino, a truck manufacturer, was discovered to have falsified engine emissions and fuel economy data, while Daihatsu, a minivehicle maker, temporarily suspended shipments of all its models due to 174 confirmed cases of misconduct, including instances of manipulated safety crash tests.
In response to these incidents, Toyota President Koji Sato shared on January 29th that common factors contributed to the fraudulent practices at group companies. Weaknesses in mutual checks and balances were identified, where the same department handled both product development and certification processes.
The lack of adequate management oversight and support for on-site operations was also highlighted as a contributing factor. Toyota remains committed to addressing these issues by implementing necessary reforms and reinforcing the company's commitment to quality and ethical practices.