Ministry to Finish Tests on Six Vehicle Models before Month Ends; Seeks to Minimize Impact on Local Economies (Update 1)

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry officials enter Suzuki Motor Corp.’s headquarters in Chuo Ward, Hamamatsu.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has decided to complete safety and other tests on six vehicle models before the end of June, it has been learned. The ministry has determined that it is necessary to minimize the impact on the economy and quickly ensure the safety and security of users.

Of 38 models involved in the falsifications, shipments of the six models — Toyota Motor Corp.’s Yaris Cross, Corolla Fielder and Corolla Axio; Mazda Motor Corp’s Mazda2 and Roadster RF; and Yamaha Motor Co.’s YZF-R1 — will be halted until the vehicles meet safety and environmental standards. Toyota and Mazda on Thursday halted production of five models for which the ministry had ordered a suspension of shipments.

Since the six models are produced in factories in five prefectures — Iwate, Miyagi, Shizuoka, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi — prolonged suspension of production could negatively impact local economies. The ministry will expediate confirmation of whether the six models meet the standards and announce its findings. If the vehicles meet the standards, the ministry will allow shipments to resume.

Toyota and the four other vehicle manufacturers involved said, “[The vehicles] conform to national standards and are safe to continue drive.” However, the ministry will conduct its own testing on all affected models. If the ministry identifies models that fail to meet the standards, a recall will be considered.

Suzuki also subjected to on-site inspection

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry conducted an on-site inspection at Suzuki Motor Corp.’s headquarters in Hamamatsu on Thursday over the falsified model certification applications.

It was the third consecutive day of on-site inspections after Toyota Motor Corp. and Yamaha Motor Co. faced similar action under the Road Transport Vehicle Law. Such consecutive on-site inspections are unusual.

Three ministry officials visited Suzuki just before 9:00 a.m. to conduct the inspection.

Suzuki falsified stopping distances for brake tests of its Alto minicar, which had been produced for three years until 2017. The company also falsified testing reports. About 26,000 vehicles are affected. No fraudulence has been identified in car models currently in production.

The ministry will also conduct on-site inspections of Mazda Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. and is considering administrative measures against all five vehicle manufacturers under the Road Transport Vehicle Law after confirming the details.