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Japan’s Top Automakers Accused of Tampering With Safety Data

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Irregularities were found in applications to certify models: Image Toyota

Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor in Japan have temporarily halted shipments and sales of certain automobiles after the Transport Ministry discovered inconsistencies in safety applications used to certify their models.

Japan’s Transport Ministry announced on Monday that anomalies were discovered in applications to certify vehicles from the two automakers, as well as Honda Motor, Suzuki Motor, and Yamaha Motor. It had directed Toyota, Mazda, and Yamaha to halt shipments of certain automobiles.

The revelations imply an expansion of a safety testing scandal involving Japanese automakers. Following last year’s safety test debacle at Toyota’s compact car affiliate Daihatsu, the ministry demanded that automakers evaluate their vehicle certification applications.

Toyota, the world’s largest manufacturer by volume, announced on Monday that it has temporarily paused shipments and sales of three Japanese-made automobile models. Chairman Akio Toyoda will conduct a press conference at 0800 GMT on Monday.

The transport ministry announced separately that it will undertake an on-site assessment at Toyota’s headquarters on Tuesday.

Mazda delayed shipments of its Roadster RF sports vehicle and Mazda2 hatchback on Thursday last week after discovering that staff had altered engine control software test findings, the company said in a statement.

It also discovered that crash tests of discontinued Atenza and Axela models had been tampered with by employing a timer to activate airbags during some frontal collision tests rather than relying on an on-board sensor to detect a hit.

Yamaha announced that it had halted supplies of a sporting motorcycle.

Honda, which is also scheduled to conduct a news conference later in the day, said it discovered wrongdoing in noise and output tests on almost two dozen vehicles that are no longer in production during a period of more than eight years, ending in October 2017.

A Toyota spokeswoman stated that the business is still looking into concerns with vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions and hopes to get it resolved by the end of June.

Toyota shares fell 1.8%, missing the Topix index’s 0.9% increase. Mazda shares declined 3.3%.

Toyota admitted to providing insufficient data in pedestrian and occupant protection tests for three production models—the Corolla Fielder, Axio, and Yaris Cross—as well as errors in crash tests and other test methods for discontinued versions of four popular models, including one sold under the Lexus luxury brand.

It stated that there were no performance issues that breached regulations, and consumers were not required to stop driving their vehicles.

In the Daihatsu controversy, a commission discovered that the company manipulated side-collision safety testing for 88,000 small cars, the most of which were sold as Toyota’s.

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