Toyota Motor has halted the global shipments of 10 vehicles after discovering that an affiliate had mishandled the testing of diesel engines used in the automobiles. The affiliate used software to measure horsepower output that made values appear smoother with less variation, resulting in the temporary shutdown of popular models such as the Hilux pickup truck and the Land Cruiser 300 SUV. The company reassured that the vehicles meet engine output standards and there is no need to stop using the engines or vehicles. However, Japan’s transportation ministry has ordered Toyota Industries to address its mismanagement of the engine testing and conduct inspections, adding that penalties will be issued.
The chief executive of Toyota Industries, Koichi Ito, publicly apologized for the mishaps, attributing the problem to the company’s system structure. Toyota Motor’s CEO, Koji Sato, stated that about 43,000 diesel engines per month were affected by the issue. This is not the first setback for Toyota, as the company faced recalls and production shutdowns in December, including a recall of 1 million vehicles in the United States due to airbag issues and an investigation into safety problems at subsidiary Daihatsu.
In response to the recent testing problems, Toyota expressed understanding of the gravity of the situation, acknowledging that it has shaken the very foundations of the company as an automobile manufacturer. This comes as Japanese auto companies are facing their biggest business challenge since becoming global giants in the 1980s. Toyota, once a leader in automotive manufacturing efficiency, has struggled to keep up with changing consumer preferences and government initiatives to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. This has led to a shift in the global car export landscape, with China surpassing Japan as the world’s largest exporter of cars last year.
Opinion: This series of setbacks for Toyota highlights the company’s struggle to adapt to changing consumer and regulatory demands in the automotive industry. As the world pushes for sustainability and innovation, Toyota, along with other traditional automakers, must refocus their efforts to remain competitive and regain consumer trust.