Daihatsu resumes all Japanese plants post safety scandal pause

Daihatsu Motor Co., a Toyota subsidiary, resumes production after safety test rigging halted operations for four months. Toyota vows increased oversight.

Daihatsu Motor Co., a subsidiary under the umbrella of Toyota Motor Corp specializing in small cars, has resumed operations at all of its assembly plants in Japan after a hiatus of more than four months. The halt in production was initiated due to safety test rigging, which led to a significant disruption in the country’s industrial output and raised concerns regarding the safety of vehicles within the Toyota group.

The resumption of operations marks a significant step for Daihatsu, with production restarting at its main factory in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, earlier in the day. This factory, the last of the four assembly plants to resume output, has now joined facilities in Kyoto, Oita, and Shiga prefectures in gradually restoring domestic production since February.

The suspension of operations followed Daihatsu’s admission in December to rigging safety data for a majority of its models, prompting regulatory scrutiny and a shipment ban covering all 27 models. The reexamination of safety standards by the transport ministry led to the ban being lifted in April, allowing Daihatsu to resume production.

A third-party panel appointed by Daihatsu attributed the safety test rigging to practices dating back to 1989, citing an “extremely tight and rigid development schedule” as a contributing factor. In response to these revelations, Toyota announced plans in April to increase oversight of Daihatsu, taking charge of development and safety approval for select models previously handled by the unit.

In a statement on Tuesday, Daihatsu expressed its commitment to ensuring product quality by producing cars with greater care than before. The company’s efforts to address the misconduct and restore trust in its vehicles align with Toyota’s broader strategy to uphold safety standards across its subsidiaries.