Safety Scandal Deepens: Toyota Halts Sales of Three Cars

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jun 16, 2024

Toyota has found itself in a bit of a sticky situation: Three of its models have been recalled due to safety concerns. And this incident is only the latest in a long line of safety scandals for the Japanese mega-manufacturer.

Toyota has explained the most recent problems and issued a formal apology, but it’s not the only auto manufacturer facing public outrage.

Toyota’s Ongoing Safety Scandal

At the beginning of 2024, Toyota made headlines after the Japanese Transportation Ministry noted a series of safety test violations by Toyota and its affiliates.

Two people cross the road as a car breaks in front of them

Source: iStock

The scandal led to production halts across many of Toyota’s manufacturing plants, suspended engine shipments, and an invasive investigation into the company’s safety procedures. The ministry found that the safety violations had been going on for ten years, specifically in regard to collision testing.

Toyota Is in Trouble Again

Now, only six months later, Toyota has found itself in the hot seat yet again. The Japanese Transportation Ministry reported that the company falsified data during pedestrian safety tests for three of its popular models, the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, and Yaris Cross.

A photograph of a black Toyota Corolla Fielder on the road

Source: Reddit

Additionally, they found that Toyota used modified test vehicles for four other widely distributed models during collision safety tests.

Japan’s Transportation Ministry Found Toyota Had Been Using Outdated or Inadequate Date

The national organization reported that Toyota had been using inadequate or outdated data in its collision tests for nearly a decade.

Four photographs side-by-side of cars in collision crash testing

Source: @YOUCAR/YouTube

They found evidence that the company was incorrectly estimating airbag inflation and rear-seat damage in crashes to promote their vehicles as safer than they truly are. However, they also noted that cars already on the road are safe to use, and customers do not need to be concerned for their safety.

Toyota Is Halting the Sales of the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, and Yaris Cross

In response to the scandal, Toyota has announced that it will suspend the sale and delivery of any of their popular Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio, or Yaris Cross cars, effective immediately.

A man works on a car at an auto manufacturing factory

Source: Freepik

The company noted that only two of its prominent factories, which each produce more than 130,000 vehicles per year, will be affected by the production halt, at least for now.

Toyota Apologizes to Its Customers

Additionally, the popular company issued a formal apology to customers all over the world for its negligence.

The chairman of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, speaks at an event

Source: Toyota

Chairman Akio Toyoda said in a recent press release, “We neglected the certification process and mass-produced our cars without first taking the proper precautionary steps. For that, we apologize to our customers and all automotive enthusiasts.”


Toyota Isn’t the Only Japanese Car Manufacturer With Safety Violations

Although everyone is talking about Toyota, it is not the only Japanese car manufacturer facing backlash for safety violations.

A red Mazda car outside a dealership

Source: iStock

Mazda has also recently admitted to falsifying test results and manipulating models used for collision testing in at least five models, including the Roadster RF and the Mazda2. According to the statement, over 150,000 cars made over the past ten years are liable for safety concerns.


Mazda Claims the Safety Violations Were Not an “Organizational Cover-Up”

Mazda CEO Masahiro Moro told the press that its production halt will likely affect around 3,500 vehicles but that it will not be issuing a recall at this time. He added, “We will bear costs incurred to suppliers due to the shipment halts.”

Two business people go over collected data

Source: Freepik

Moro also noted that the safety violations were not an “organizational cover-up” or “malicious falsification” but an employee misinterpretation of the proper procedures.


Honda’s Fabricated Data Could Have Affected More Than Three Million Cars

Meanwhile, Honda is dealing with its own safety issues, as the Japanese Transportation Ministry found that the company had fabricated data relating to its vehicles’ gasoline engine output and noise.

The exterior of a Honda dealership

Source: iStock

The ministry explained that while the falsified data likely affects more than 3 million Honda vehicles, they still technically meet the legal standards. Therefore, Honda won’t be halting production or issuing a recall, but will be forced to adjust their procedures moving forward.


The Japanese Transportation Ministry Is Continuing Its Investigation

After the latest investigations, the Japanese Transportation Ministry reported 68 cases of manufacturing violations among the nation’s several popular car manufacturers, including Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Yamaha Motor, and Suzuki.

The entry sign for the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, with text in both English and Japanese

Source: Alamy

But they’re not done yet; the organization will continue to investigate every carmaker in the country until they determine that all corporations are following the necessary safety standards. It’s certainly a big undertaking. But as Japan makes more than 7.77 million cars a year, netting more than $156.7 billion, it’s absolutely crucial that customers around the world trust the nation’s largest export.


Toyota, Mazda, and Honda Have Seen a Significant Decrease in Stock Prices

Shares of several Japanese auto manufacturing companies, including Toyota and Mazda, have plummeted this quarter due to the ongoing safety scandals.

A stock broker looks devastated as he watches stock prices fall on the screen

Source: Freepik

While Mazda’s stock price fell by 3.3% in May 2024, Toyota’s only decreased by 2.9%. While these numbers are concerning, they’re not quite drastic enough to incite panic. For now, investors in Japanese motor vehicle companies will simply have to wait and see if the stock prices level out over the next few months.


Will Japan’s Car Industry Struggle to Recover From the Safety Scandals?

In April 2024, Toyota’s vehicle sales fell for the first time in years. While they only decreased by 0.5%, it is still a significant milestone in the company’s successful history. However, it’s interesting to note that while sales plummeted by 27% in China and 14% in Japan, they actually increased in the US market.

A man looks sad as he rests his head on the steering wheel of his car

Source: Freepik

For now, it seems that at least Americans aren’t worried about the safety issues found in Japanese cars like Toyota. But if these companies don’t make adjustments, Americans could certainly catch on and abandon Japanese-made vehicles in the near future.