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Daihatsu Halts Vehicle Shipments Amid Expanding Safety Test Scandal

Falsified Safety Tests Affect 64 Models; Daihatsu, a Toyota Subsidiary, Faces Widening Inquiry and Potential Brand Damage
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Daihatsu Motor Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Toyota, is in the midst of a burgeoning safety test scandal, prompting the suspension of its vehicle shipments both domestically and internationally. Recent developments have revealed that the issue is more extensive than initially understood, with falsifications potentially dating back further than previously known.

On Wednesday, Daihatsu announced the halt of all vehicle shipments after an investigation uncovered issues with 64 models, including over 20 models that are part of the Toyota brand. This decision comes in the wake of an inquiry into Daihatsu’s safety practices, which began in April following admissions of erroneous conduct in crash safety testing for regulatory approvals.

The independent panel, DMC, found that the scandal involves more than just the previously identified door trim panel issues in side-impact tests. In April, Daihatsu acknowledged that over 88,000 vehicles, mostly Toyotas, failed to meet safety standards. The investigation has now unearthed 174 additional violations, affecting a total of 64 Daihatsu models and 3 engines, including 22 models and 1 engine sold by Toyota.

A critical aspect of the scandal involves discrepancies in airbag testing for models like Daihatsu Move, Cast, and Grand Max. Investigations revealed that the airbags used in tests differed from those in production models. Although subsequent verifications confirmed that these airbags met occupant protection standards, concerns remain regarding compliance with legal requirements, especially in side impact tests for models like Daihatsu Cast and Toyota Pixis Joy.

This scandal poses a significant threat to Daihatsu’s reputation for quality and safety, a cornerstone of its brand identity. As the automaker navigates the fallout of this revelation, the wider automotive industry is closely watching the impact on Daihatsu’s parent company, Toyota, known for its stringent safety standards. The ongoing investigation and response to these findings will be critical in determining the long-term effects on both Daihatsu and the broader automotive sector.

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