Toyota to announce plans for scandal-hit Daihatsu in a month

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Toyota Motor plans to announce in about a month steps to overhaul its small-car specialist Daihatsu Motor after an investigation into misconduct at its unit related to rigged collision-safety tests found issues going back decades.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” Toyota CEO Koji Sato told reporters.

Toyota will consider whether to break down any boundaries between its business and that of Daihatsu as part of the move, he said, adding that it may dispatch engineers to its wholly owned subsidiary.

Another potential measure includes a change to Daihatsu’s leadership structure, Sato said.

Production at Daihatsu’s factories in Japan remains halted since late last month after an independent panel that had been investigating the company found issues involving 64 models, including almost two dozen sold under Toyota’s brand.

Japan’s transport ministry said earlier on Tuesday it had started procedures to revoke the safety certification of three models for which Daihatsu had manipulated collision-safety tests as part of regulatory applications. The affected models are Daihatsu’s Grand Max, Toyota’s TownAce and Mazda Motor’s Bongo.

Daihatsu, which has been a wholly owned Toyota subsidiary since 2016, is popular for its lineup of small-sized vehicles in Japan and in Southeast Asia. Its competitors include Suzuki Motor, which has an especially big market share in India.

The investigation unveiled last month found the misconduct at Daihatsu included issues such as false reports on headrest impact tests and test speeds for some models.

It found cases of wrongdoing were particularly prevalent after 2014 and, for one discontinued Daihatsu vehicle, went back as far as 1989.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Bernadette Baum)