Japanese car makers falsified safety test results

Toyota, Mazda, Honda, and Suzuki have committed fraud, an investigation has found

FILE PHOTO: Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Akio Toyoda bows in apology at a press conference. ©  Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Some of ’s best-known automakers have admitted to committing fraud in safety tests to get new vehicles certified for sale. The disclosures come after an official and wide-reaching investigation was launched after instances came to light of test-rigging at Daihatsu, a Toyota subsidiary, and at other firms.

Out of 85 manufacturers investigated by the government, five, namely Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Suzuki, as well as engine maker Yamaha, were found to have committed fraud during approval applications, according to a statement by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Type approval is required and only granted to a product that meets legal, technical, safety, and environmental requirements.

“Fraudulent activities in type-approval applications undermine the trust of users and undermine the very foundations of the automobile certification system, and it is extremely regrettable that new fraudulent activities have come to light,” the ministry said in a statement.

Mazda was found to have falsified crash-test vehicle results for several models. Suzuki made false statements about braking-system test results for one model, and Honda tampered with noise-testing for 22 previously produced vehicles, it added.

The investigation into Toyota is ongoing, but the probe has already discovered that the car maker submitted false data in pedestrian-protection tests and ‘falsified’ crash-test vehicles for seven vehicle models.

Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda issued an apology on Monday. He suggested that some certification rules in Japan might be overly stringent, according to Associated Press (AP), and said that the company may have been too eager to get the tests done at a time when model varieties were burgeoning.

Toyota said that the wrongdoing does not affect the safety of vehicles already on roads. Production of three models, the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross, has been suspended.

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Toyota’s Japanese rival Mazda Motor Corporation acknowledged violations on crash tests on three discontinued models. Production of two models, the Roadster and Mazda 2, has been halted due to incorrect engine-control software having been used in the tests, according to AP.

Tokyo-based Honda Motor Company also apologized on Monday for improper tests.

The ministry said it will further investigate the five companies and will take strict action based on its results.

Toyota is the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, selling more than ten million vehicles a year. Japan is the third-largest car-producing country in the world, after China and the US.

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