Toyota shares slide as unit Daihatsu’s safety scandal widens

TOKYO (Reuters) -Toyota Motor’s shares fell more than 4% on Thursday after its small-car unit Daihatsu Motor said a day earlier it would halt shipments of all of its vehicles for an indefinite period after discovering more safety-inspection irregularities.

Daihatsu said that an independent committee had found issues involving 64 models, including almost two dozen sold under Toyota’s brand. The panel had been investigating the unlisted car maker after it said in April that it had rigged side-collision safety tests carried out for 88,000 small cars.

Japan’s transport ministry is considering administrative penalties against Daihatsu including revoking its production certification depending on its own investigation, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Daihatsu said on Wednesday it did not know when it would resume shipments, but that the impact on its earnings would be substantial.

Shares of Suzuki Motor, Daihatsu’s main rival in Japan’s minivehicle market, rose around 2%, while Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei average was down 1.6% as of 0200 GMT.

Separately, Toyota said on Wednesday that it would recall 1.12 million vehicles worldwide due to a fault as a short circuit in a sensor could cause air bags not to deploy as designed. The recall includes 1 million vehicles in the U.S.

Shares in parts supplier Aisin Corp, which manufactured the air bags, were down around 3% in morning trading.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Anton Bridge; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Muralikumar Anantharaman)